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Jhatkaa.org urges people to pledge #WontBuyUnilever

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | September 15, 2015
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The public mobilisation group is urging consumers to boycott Unilever products in order to put pressure on the MNC to clean up the alleged mercury contamination in Kodaikanal.

After creating a lot of buzz on digital platforms with the 'Kodaikanal Won't' rap video, Jhatkaa.org, a public mobilisation group fighting against the alleged mercury contamination by Unilever, has launched a follow-up campaign. Titled #WontBuyUnilever, the campaign urges consumers and people in general to take a pledge to boycott the MNC's products.

The campaign is being supported by South Indian actors Bobby Simha, Rohini and Kalai Raani who have pledged to not use or endorse any products by the company till it clears up the thermometer factory premises at Kodaikanal, which is allegedly contaminated with mercury.

An official blog post on Jhatkaa.org reads, "It's been over a month since Unilever promised the world swift action on their mercury mess in Kodaikanal. But, their ex-workers are yet to receive just compensation, and the company has refused to shed its double-standards on clean-up and is insisting on a substandard remediation."

Released on August 5, the video performed by a Chennai-based rapper Sofia Ashraf, sparked off conversations on social media, questioning Unilever's CEO Paul Polman's silence on the toxic dumping by the company. After the video went viral, HUL responded in a post on its official website stating that the safety of its employees is its number one priority.

The company has listed various studies and measures taken since the factory's closure which concluded that its former employees did not suffer ill-health due to the nature of their work. It also added that pre-remediation work was started in 2009, but the criterion set by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) was contested by NGOs, which has delayed these efforts.

However, Jhatkaa notes in its post that the clean-up the company is offering will leave the environment horribly contaminated.

"And, going by the absence of any news on a settlement with workers, the issue of compensating affected workers hasn't been resolved either. That is why we need to take the next step. Avoiding Unilever products and letting Unilever CEO, Paul Polman, know that you are doing this on moral grounds will send home a strong message," Jhatkaa's post reads.

The Jhatkaa.org website urges users to enter their personal details and pledge towards boycotting Unilever products.

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