Vidwan TM Krishna and environmentalist N Jayaraman engage with the IIMB community on the ‘Kodai Still Won’t’ campaign

27 July, 2018:  Magsaysay awardee and music maestro TM Krishna and environmentalist N Jayaraman came to IIMB on July 26 (Thursday) to engage with the community and drum up support for the ongoing campaign to clean up Kodaikanal.Vidwan TM Krishna set the context for the discussion by singing the Tamil song, ‘Chennai Poromboke Paadal’, about climate change. N Jayaraman opened his talk by quoting from an article called, ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson,  an American marine biologist, author, and conservationist whose writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement.



Nityanand Jayaraman, environmentalist, addresses the gathering.

Vidwan T.M. Krishna, Carnatic music vocalist, talks about the ‘Kodaikanal Wont’ campaign.

Jayaraman explained how dangerous bio-accumulative chemicals like DDT, biphenyl and mercury can be. “They travel far and have wiped out Great Lakes in North America and drained the Black river in Ontario,” he said and explained the consequences of minamata, a disease caused by severe mercury poisoning. The disease was first reported in Minamata city in Japan in 1956.

“Back in 1983, Chesebrough Pond’s Inc. exported its decades-old mercury thermometer factory to India from the US. In 1986, Unilever’s subsidiary acquired this thermometer plant and operated without any controls till 2001,” he said. Observing that the factory had been registered as a “glass manufacturing unit”, he said: “They produced 163 million thermometers using about 900 kg of mercury annually and the toxic waste got left behind in Kodaikanal.” He displayed pictures of the workers and their families in Kodaikanal, who, he said, “are struggling to cope with the health effects and the hardships faced due to this aftermath”. He then explained the genesis of the movement called, ‘Kodaikanal Won’t Stop’. A brief description of the movement has been described in a video

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Towards the end of the talk, the audience asked several questions about the protest and its implications. On a closing note, Vidwan TM Krishna said: “You don’t need celebrities to brand your movement. You yourself are a brand.”

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