You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

Toxic mercury haunts TN long after thermometer unit was shut

Press Trust of India  |  Chennai 

A new study has found high levels of toxic mercury in vegetation and sediment collected from the vicinity of a thermometer factory which was shut 14 years ago in the hill station of Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu, an NGO claimed today.

"Lichen samples contained 53 mg/kg of mercury, a moss sample had 8.68 mg/kg," Advisor, Community Environmental Monitoring, Nityanand Jayaraman said here.

The NGO had the samples analysed at the Department of Atomic Energy's National Centre for Compositional Characterisation of Materials in Hyderabad, he said.

"Samples were collected two months ago, and the results show high levels of mercury contamination indicating continuing environmental and health hazards in Kodaikanal," he said.

"Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board shut down the Unilever's thermometer factory in 2001 in Kodaikanal for violation of environmental laws. Unilever has neither cleaned up the environment nor compensated its affected workers," he claimed.

The samples were collected from near a stream emanating from the now shut thermometer factory and flowing through the Pambar Shola Reserve Forest.

A similar study in 2003 by the DAE too had reported mercury levels in ambient air near the factory, he said.

Such levels of mercury in the environment poses a serious threat to local people and for consumers of fish, he said.

Urging immediate action, he said Unilever should come forward to clean up the area from mercury waste on par with international standards in a transparent fashion.

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Thu, June 25 2015. 22:42 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU