Hindustan Unilever, a subsidiary of the multinational firm, was accused by environmentalists for polluting sensitive Pambar Shola reserve forest of the Western Ghat in Tamil Nadu state.
The firm has proposed an alleged substandard clean up of mercury pollution caused by its thermometer factory near the forest.
Nanditha Kirshna, Director of the CPR Environmental Education Centre, Shekar Dattatri, environmentalist and wildlife filmmaker and others have urged the State pollution control board and the Union Ministry of Forest and Environment to suspend the ongoing works.
Besides, they have also asked the authorities to take steps to ensure world class clean up of mercury pollution.
"They (the Western Ghats) have very rare plants, flora and fauna not only that the Western Ghats are the source of the rivers which feed the Deccan Plateau without the Western Ghats we will not have water in the most of the Deccan Plateau. The Pamper shoal has been contaminated by the mercury poisoning from the thermometer factory by the Hindustan Unilever," said Nanditha Kirshna in Chennai.
Dattatr, and his colleagues have filmed a 24-minute documentary, titled 'SOS - Save Our Sholas, highlighting the importance of protecting such forests. It also showcases the rich biodiversity of the Western Ghats, forests and the problems that beset this fragile landscape.
"Our demand is that there should be independent assessment of the risk (pollution) how much pollution is there that should be independently assessed then the local resident should also be taken into confidence. There should be an oversight committee to make sure that clean-up is done in a transparent, sincere way to the international standard," said Dattatri.
The film lays emphasis on the immense water harvesting capacity of these forests, and underlines the fact that all the major rivers of peninsular India originate in the Western Ghats.