CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Alliance against Mercury (TAAM), a coalition of Kodaikanal residents and organisations that is fighting against the mercury dumping in the hill station made a serious allegation at a press meet here on Monday. It charged the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) of colluding with Hindustan Unilever to downgrade stan- dards for remediation of its mercury-contaminated site at Kodaikanal.
Hindustan Lever’s thermometer manufacturing company, Unilever, though shut in 2001, has not cleaned up the mercury waste, according to TAAM representatives. The locals demand early completion of the impact study.
Once famous for pristine forests and grasslands, cool weather and clean air, Kodaikanal is the dumping ground for deadly mercury that will leach its slow poi- son into the environment for 1,000 years. TAAM wants an enquiry about the stand of TNPCB and NEERI on this.
“The expert committee appointed for the impact study has no expertise in studying mercury pollution. The entire Pambar Shola reserve forest and the four lakes in Kodaikanal are entirely polluted because of the mercury waste not being cleared from there,” Mr Nityanand Jayaraman, associated with TAAM, said.