Coca-Cola Continues Environmental Abuses in India
Community Demands Immediate Shut Down and Investigation
For Immediate Release
June 4, 2007
Baliram, Coca-Cola Bhagao, Krishi Bachao Sangharsh Samiti +91 94507
79325 (India) (Hindi only)
Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center +91 98103 46161 (India) +1
415 336 7584 (US) E: info@IndiaResource.org
New Delhi, India (June 4, 2007): In a shocking finding,
another Coca-Cola bottling plant in India has been found to be operating
in complete violation of environmental laws and regulations in India.
A fact-finding team led by the India Resource Center to a Coca-Cola
bottling plant in Sinhachawar in the state of Uttar Pradesh issued
a report today detailing the violations.
Specifically, the team found that:
Illegal Dumping of Sludge at Coca-Cola Bottling Plant
The full report with images can be found at http://www.indiaresource.org/campaigns/coke/2007/cokebaliafact.html,
in Hindi at http://www.indiaresource.org/campaigns/coke/2007/baliahindireport.pdf
Such careless disposal of the sludge and the wastewater results in
the pollution of the agricultural lands, local water supplies as well
as the food chain. At stake are the very lives and livelihoods of
thousands of people who live around the bottling plant premises, who
are primarily farmers.
The findings are particularly disturbing because the Coca-Cola company
has had ample time to align its operations in India with environmental
rules and regulations, and it has been rapped for similar wrongdoings
In 2003, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India assessed
the sludge at eight Coca-Cola bottling plants, and found them all
to contain excessive levels of lead, cadmium or chromium. As a result,
the CPCB ordered the Coca-Cola company in India to treat its waste
as industrial hazardous waste, and deal with it accordingly.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) also tested the sludge
around the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Plachimada in Kerala in 2003,
and found it to be toxic. The Coca-Cola company was distributing the
toxic sludge to farmers as ‘fertilizer’, and was ordered by government
authorities to stop the practice after the toxicity of the sludge
was confirmed. The BBC report found that the toxins from the sludge
had polluted the groundwater.
The bottling plant in Sinhachawar is a Coca-Cola franchisee owned
unit operated by the Brindavan Bottlers Limited, which is owned by
India’s largest bottler of Coca-Cola, the Ladhani Group of Companies.
“Our lives have been made much more difficult after the Coca-Cola
bottling plant began its operations here,” said Mr. Baliram of the
locally based Coca-Cola Bhagao, Krishi Bachao Sangharsh Samiti (Get
Rid of Coke, Save Farming Struggle Committee). “We are demanding that
the Coca-Cola plant be shut down immediately and be investigated for
The fact finding team, which included twenty residents from the village
of Sinhachawar, also heard complaints of illegal land acquisition
by the bottling plant as well as the drying up of water wells and
hand water pumps since the bottling plant began operations.
“The Coca-Cola company is announcing to the world that it is an environmentally
responsible company, and it has partnered with UN agencies and NGO’s
to paint a pretty green picture of itself. But all that is corporate
social responsibility gone wrong because the reality on the ground
is different. It is littered with toxic waste and a complete disregard
and destruction of the way of life as many people in rural India know
it,” said Amit Srivastava of the India Resource Center.
“Coca-Cola’s track record in India is indicative of an arrogant company
that operates with impunity,” said Srivastava.
The Coca-Cola company’s operations in India have been challenged by
various communities across India who are experiencing severe water
shortages as well as polluted water and land as a result of the company’s
practices. The Coca-Cola bottling plant in Plachimada, one of the
company’s largest in India, has been shut down since March 2004.
The local campaigns to challenge Coca-Cola in India have found tremendous
support internationally, and particularly among college and university
students in the US, UK and Canada. Just last week, the prestigious
Smith College in the US announced that it will no longer do business
with the Coca-Cola company because of concerns in India, ending a
five decade relationship with the Coca-Cola company. Over twenty colleges
and universities have taken similar actions.
The Central Pollution Control Board has been asked to investigate
the pollution at the Sinhachawar bottling plant immediately, and other
agencies dealing with water and land have also been asked to intervene
in the matter of the offending Coca-Cola bottling plant in Sinhachawar.
The fact finding team has recommended that the Coca-Cola bottling
plant in Sinhachawar be shut down immediately to prevent any further
damage to the community and the environment.
For more information, visit www.IndiaResource.org
- The plant is indiscriminately dumping its sludge, considered
to be industrial hazardous waste, across the plant premises, in
complete violation of the laws regarding handling and disposal
of industrial hazardous waste in India.
- The Effluent Treatment Plant was non-operational, and the bottling
plant was discharging its wastewater into surrounding agricultural
fields and a canal that feeds into the river Ganges.
- The plant did not disclose the amount of hazardous waste being
used and generated, as required by the Supreme Court of India
for all industrial units in India that deal with hazardous waste.
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