A Unilever thermometer factory in the Indian town of Kodaikanal has been accused of poisoning workers and illegally dumping toxic mercury waste into a nearby scrapyard for 14 years.
The factory closed in 2001, but according to the New Indian Express, forty-five of the people who worked there, and twelve of their children, have died from causes related to mercury poisoning, and locals continue to suffer from high rates of neurological and reproductive health issues, including heart disease and miscarriages.
Hindustan Unilever has confirmed it shut the factory after Greenpeace made it aware that tons of mercury-contaminated glass from the plant were sold to a scrap dealer in Kodaikanal; it has denied claims from former workers, however, that their health has been impacted by exposure to mercury.
Activists have been protesting at Unilever's Indian headquarters in Mumbai, asking the company take responsibility for the alleged poisonings and clean up the river and forest surrounding the old site of the factory.
Sofia Ashraf, a socially conscious rapper originally from Chennai who took on another chemical company in 2008 with the song "Don't Work For Dow," recently released "Kodaikanal Won't," a heart-wrenching, powerful parody of Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" that takes on the alleged toxic dumping.
The song is intended to support the Kodaikenal activists and urge people to sign the petition asking Unilever to take responsibility. A spokesperson for Unilever had not returned calls for comment at press time.
"Kodaikanal won't, Kodaikanal won't, Kodaikanal won't step down until you make amends now," Ashraf raps. "They dumped their waste in the local shrubbery/ Now that's some toxic s--t."
Nicki def. approved.