(I find this story doubly odd in the new coke commercials I have to watch every time I pay to see a movie…cd)
Everything Gets Worse With Coca-Cola
PLACHIMADA, India, Aug 21 (IPS) – In the end it was the ”generosity” of Coca-Cola in distributing cadmium-laden waste sludge as ”free fertilizer” to the tribal aborigines who live near the beverage giant’s bottling plant in this remote Kerala village that proved to be its undoing.
On Friday, the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) ordered the plant shut down to the jubilation of tribal leaders and green activists who had focused more on the ‘water mining’ activities of the plant rather than its production of toxic cadmium sludge.
”One way or another, this plant should be shut down and the management made to pay compensation for destroying our paddy fields, fooling us with fake fertilizer and drying out our wells,” Paru Amma, an aboriginal woman who lives in this once lush, water-abundant area, told IPS.
Chairman of the KSPCB, G. Rajmohan, said the closure was ordered because the plant ”does not have adequate waste treatment systems and toxic products from the plant were affecting drinking water in nearby villages” and that the plant ”has also not provided drinking water in a satisfying manner to local residents”.
Apparently, the generosity of the Coca-Cola plant was limited to distributing sludge and waste water free and did not extend to providing drinking water to people seriously affected by its operations.
In a statement Saturday, Coca-Cola said it was ”reviewing the order passed by the chairman of the Pollution Control Board, Kerala state,” and that ”going forward, we are in the process of evaluating future steps, including a judicial review”.
The KSPCB closure order is only the latest episode in a see-saw battle between Coca-Cola and the impoverished but plucky local residents ever since the Atlanta-based company began operating its 25 million-dollar bottling plant in this village, located in the state’s fertile Palakkad district, in 2001. ENVIRONMENT-INDIA: Everything Gets Worse With Coca-Cola