South Durban Community Environmental Alliance


Durban, South Africa, 7 March 2015 – Today marks the 15th anniversary of the environmental and public health disaster that occurred in Kodaikanal, India at the Hindustan Unilever mercury thermometer factory operations, where toxic mercury waste was dumped in a nearby forest and a scrapyard in a crowded part of town, killing several workers and poisoning the community [1].

A Government of India report found that the factory's negligence extended even to occupational hygiene and work safety practices. The report found these to be inadequate and concluded that workers and their families had been affected due to mercury exposure of workers in the shop-floor.
In response to a call for solidarity with the community of Kodaikanal, the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance [2] called for Unilever to clean up its mess.

Former workers continue to suffer: 

Unilever Pty Ltd. (UK) CEO, Paul Polman speaks about improving labour and human rights, ending global poverty and working towards sustainable development.

Ex-workers don’t believe his promises:


[1] For more information visit
[2]The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) is a non-profit organisation which aims to, inter alia, service the common interests of participating civil society organisations, provide a common structure through which different sectors of civil society can explore, strengthen and promote matters of common interest justice or relating to environmental justice and sustainable development and create a culture of environmental justice and sustainability

Desmond D’sa
Coordinator, South Durban Community Environmental Alliance
Tel (w): +27 (0) 31 461 1991
Tel (m): +27 (0) 83 982 6939

Megan Lewis
Media and Communications Manager
groundWork, Friends of the Earth South Africa
Tel (w): +27 33 342 5662
Tel (m): +27 83 450 5541