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DISPATCH: Cola Is Fizzling Out
Posted on August 10, 2006 by Anita Roddick

Heres the latest update from our friends at the India Resource Centre on ongoing situation in India with Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Kerala Throws Out Coca-Cola and Pepsi - Seven Other States Impose Ban, Others Expected to Follow

The state government of Kerala in south India has banned the production and sale of Coca-Cola and Pepsi in the state. The companies will be asked to close their operations entirely.

Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan stated today that the ban was being imposed because of the health hazards posed by Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

"We have arrived at the decision to ask both Coke and Pepsi to stop production and distribution of all their products, based on scientific studies which have proved that they are harmful," said Mr. Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan.

Chief Minister Achuthanandan also pointed to the four year campaign by the community of Plachimada in Kerala where the community has protested falling water levels and pollution of the groundwater and soil - directly as a result of the Coca-Cola company's bottling operations in the area.

The Coca-Cola bottling plant in Plachimada has remained shut down since March 2004 because of community opposition. Government and independent studies have confirmed the presence of toxic waste around Coca-Cola's bottling plants across India. "We will take steps to close down the Pepsi factory in Puddussery village in Palakkad district of Kerala," the chief minister added.

Last week, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a leading public interest research and advocacy group in India, released a study that found a "cocktail of between three to five different pesticides in all samples" of Coca-Cola and Pepsi products they tested in India. On an average, the CSE study said, the pesticide residues were 24 times higher than European Union (EU) standards and those proposed by the Bureau of India Standards (BIS), the government body responsible for standardization and quality control.

Coca-Cola and Pepsi have now been banned in government and educational institutions by many states in India, including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Delhi.

"We welcome the move to completely ban the manufacturing and sale of Coca-Cola and Pepsi in Kerala," said R. Ajayan of the Plachimada Solidarity Committee, a statewide coalition that has been campaigning on the water depletion and pollution issues.

"The cola companies have inflicted a lot of damage to the fabric of the community in Plachimada by destroying lives and livelihoods. We are now putting the companies on notice that they must make reparations to the affected community members, and the campaign will move to a new stage," said R. Ajayan.

Efforts are underway in India to develop regulations that will govern safety standards for soft drinks to ensure consumer safety. The Centre for Science and Environment has accused the Coca-Cola company and Pepsico, as well as "powerful interests in the government", of blocking the adoption of the standards.

"The government of India must also ensure that there are laws that protect our groundwater, and that regulations are in place to put an end to the kinds of rampant pollution that we have seen with the Coca-Cola company," said Amit Srivastava of the India Resource Center, an international campaigning organization.

The Supreme Court of India has also ordered Coca-Cola and Pepsico to reveal the ingredients in their products in six weeks, or face a potential national ban.

Topic : Environment
Posted By : Anita Roddick
Posted On : August 10, 2006



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3 results found

Re : Cola Is Fizzling Out
By Mo on August 30, 2006

The Coca-Cola Corp. is (among others) is guilty of many other human rights and evironmental abuses. Just look at Columbia or Turkey.

Thanks for helping to spread awareness!



Re : Cola Is Fizzling Out
By David Pollard on August 25, 2006

In 2001 over a period of six or seven weeks the rain that fell in Kerala was often red, "the colour of blood" as it was sometimes described. Fifty tons or so of particles were washed out of the sky. The 'official' explanation is that the particles were algal spores, despite contrary evidence such as their high aluminium content and lack of obvious response to tests for DNA.

Godfrey Louis, an Indian physicist, and, later, Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe at Cardiff university offered the opinion that the particles were alien spores from space, carried to earth by a meteor. Their suggestions seem to have met with wide acclaim; certainly they 'hit the press'.

A more plausible, though ghastly, explanation is that the particles were the result of incomplete combustion of chemical waste at the industrial zone in Eloor. This fits the available data rather better and does not have the obvious flaws of other explanations. Yet the algal bloom and spores from space explanations still appear in the press and on the internet while there is no mention of partly burnt chemical waste. Whether by accident or design, the public's interest has been taken well away from the real issue.

It doesn't seem at all impossible that there may be unacceptably high pesticide levels in soft drinks that are produced and sold in the region. And BBC Radio 4's 'File on Four' programme in 2004 raised valid questions about the bottling plant's use of water and disposal of waste. But, serious thought it is, the finding of pesticides in soft drinks is only one symptom of what appears to be a much wider problem with over-use and poor control of agri-chemicals; and dangerously negligent production methods and disposal of chemical waste.

It has been astounding to see the interest that the 'spores from space' story generated. Meanwhile the underlying factors that gave rise to the red rain go largely unaddressed except for the efforts of local groups and a small number of politicians. It may well be that the content of the red raindust will leach into the environment and, like persistent agri-chemicals, continue to be damaging long after the soft drinks issue is resolved.

There ought to be a moral to this tale, but for the present I'm blowed if I can find it.

Re : Cola Is Fizzling Out
By Kate on August 17, 2006

Funny how I watch the American news everyday but have yet to see anything about this. Guess I'll be weaning myself off Diet Coke!


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