14 years ago Hindustan Lever Limited’s thermometer factory was ordered to be shut down in Kodaikanal (Tamil Nadu, India) for alleged mercury contamination.
This video, which is a remix of Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda, went viral and has generated a lot of attention. It has even gotten a response from the company. It remains to be seen whether concrete action will be taken.
This article gives the a detailed background to all those events that led to the making of this song :-
“We used to play with mercury,” said an ex-worker named T Kaviraj. “There would be puddles of mercury on the floor; we’d kick that and watch it scatter into tiny beads. Because it was noisy in the distillation room, whenever I wanted to call my colleague, I’d scoop up some mercury and fling it on him.”
“Of contamination and cover-ups”- Nityanand Jayaraman (The Hindu, 26/08/15):
Every time a factory pollutes a neighbourhood or exposes people to poisons, people have to fight a hostile system that requires victims — mostly, indigent people — to conclusively prove that they and the environment have been harmed. Arrayed against those affected by pollution stands a veritable army of scientific institutions, State and Central Pollution Control Boards, the Environment Ministry and the wealthy polluters with huge budgets to hire lawyers, and buy science and media space.
Any policy for remediation of contaminated sites should be based on sound science. And science is sound only when scientists and their work are subject to public scrutiny. That is why activists and residents are calling for transparency and public participation as the only way to keep government bodies and experts from toeing the corporate line.