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Key Findings of the TERI Report - Kala Dera
In 2004, the International Campaign Against Coca-Cola forced the company to agree to an independent assessment of its bottling operations in India.
The assessment, which only looked at six Coca-Cola bottling plants in India (out of fifty) confirmed what the communities in Kala Dera, Varanasi and other places have been saying - that the Coca-Cola company is responsible for worsening the already existing water shortages and pollution.
The assessment - conducted by TERI in India and released in January 2008 - found that Coca-Cola's continued operations in Kala Dera "would continue to be one of the contributors to a worsening water situation and a source of stress to the communities around."
The report made four recommendations for the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Kala Dera:
Some other key findings of the TERI assessment regarding Kala Dera:
- Transport water from the nearest aquifer that may not be stressed (very difficult to find)
- Store water from low-stress seasons (may not exist!)
- Relocate the plant to a water-surplus area (very difficult to find in Rajasthan)
- Shut down the facility
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- The Kaladera area was declared as "overexploited" by the Central Ground Water Board in 1998. Yet Coca-Cola decided to locate its bottling plant and begin operations in 2000. Why did the Coca-Cola company begin operations knowing very well that water problems already existed in Kala Dera?
- Coca-Cola refused to share the "Environmental Impact Assessment" - which looks at the impacts the bottling plant would have on the water, the environment and the community - before building the plant.
- Coca-Cola's peak production months are in April, May and June - Coca-Cola takes the most amount water when the community has the least amount of water.
- Coca-Cola is relying heavily on rainwater harvesting to conserve water. But since the rainfall is scanty, the recharge achieved is unlikely to be meaningful.
- The TERI team visited Coca-Cola's rainwater harvesting structures and found them to be "dilapidated."
- The Rajasthan Water Policy, 1999, strongly advocates judicious and economically sound allocation of water resources to different sectors, with water supply for drinking as the first priority followed by irrigation, power generation, and industry sectors.
- The assessment found that Coca-Cola operated on a principle dedicated just to business continuity, and community water issues have been completely neglected.
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