Cola Companies Should Use Saltwater
May 1, 2005

New Delhi, May 1 : Alarmed by the amount of underground water drawn by cola giants, a well-known economist Sunday demanded that the government direct beverage companies to utilise desalinated seawater instead.

Forum on Social and Human Rights activist Pentapati Pullarao has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Water Resources Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi that the companies should be made to draw water from the Bay of Bengal and employ desalination techniques.

This would help preserve fresh water reserves, he maintained.

According to Pullarao, cola giant Pepsi has 40 deep wells in Andhra Pradesh's Madhuravada village alone. "Some wells are 600 feet deep and have caused the water table to fall drastically, cutting fresh water supply in the area," Pullarao told IANS.

He has sought a direction to the Central Ground Water authority to determine how much water the plant has utilised since it was set up in this village in Visakhapatnam district 10 years ago.

He has also sought a direction to the Central Pollution Control Board to inspect sewage disposal techniques in the plant.

On Friday, a lawmaker from Kerala, M.P. Veerendra Kumar, had urged the centre to support a village council in the state that has been fighting a legal battle against the multinational Coca-Cola company for over-exploiting its water reserves.

He had asked the government to re-prioritise the allocation of water so that safeguards can be taken to protect the interests of the rural poor vis-a-vis soft drink giants like Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

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