16th March 2013
Express News Service
New Indian Express
CHENNAI – When the Unilever thermometer factory was established in the pristine hills of Kodaikanal in 1984, Sree Sudan was still waiting to be born. Now a middle-school student, he has nevertheless encountered the gory effects of Mercury poisoning that has wrecked many a life in the hill town.
“My friend’s brother has all the symptoms of Mercury poisoning. His mental growth has been abnormal. That was because his mother was an employee of the Mercury factory till it closed in 2001,” claimed the boy.
About 20 children from Kodaikanal on Friday visited the TNPCB office here and met senior officials to press on cleaning up of the contaminated site.
This was to mark 12 years since the closure of the factory. The children said, “We do not pick fruits from those trees nor play there,” said R Rajashekar, a class VIII student.
Rajesh Mani, a resident of Kodaikanal who accompanied the children, charged that the TNPCB had favoured the company on the issue. However, the children had full faith in the Chief Minister. “We plead to Amma that she immediately ask the TNPCB to ensure all the toxic mercury waste is cleaned up and sent back to the US,” they said.
Kids fight against mercury dump
http://www.deccanchronicle.com/130316/news-current-affairs/article/kids-fight-against-mercury-dumpDeccan Chronicle, 16 March 2013DC | 5 hours 26 min ago
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Chennai: As many as 25 school children along with activists from Kodaikanal are camping in Chennai demanding that the government take steps and excavate the soil polluted with mercury dumped in nearby forests by an MNC 12 years ago.
The corporate company was started in violation of norms, the activists said adding it was closed in 2001 following the expose and widespread protests leaving behind tonnes of mercury dumped in forests and around the thermometer plant. Unsafe disposal of mercury was not checked by the district administration and the PCB officials, resulting in mercury discharge entering the lake and food chain causing serious disorders, the activists told a press conference.
People are being continuously affected by the toxic substance, said Mr Mahendra Babu, a local resident and ex employee of the company. Some of my friends have stunted growth in their ears due to the toxic effect after consuming food and contaminated water, said R. Rajasekar, a tenth standard student.