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Cocacola Essay

1820 words - 8 pages

Coca-Cola is the world’s largest beverage company offering more than 400 brands in over 200 countries. Multi-national corporations such as Coca-Cola are synonymous with globalisation and renowned for prioritising economic growth over environmental and social well-being. In their pursuit to maximise profits Coca-Cola has been accused of exacerbating local water resources in some developing countries. This essay will review and discuss the evidence for such claims using India as an example.
Coca-Cola was banned from India by the Indian Government in 1977 but was allowed to return in October 1993 after agreeing to certain regulations. As India becomes increasingly Westernised, the popularity ...view middle of the document...

This lack of water leaves agricultural land poorly irrigated and infertile and reduces the water available for domestic use, leading to ill-health, famine and financial hardship. Villagers are forced to walk miles to access safe drinking water whilst Coca-Cola can access almost unlimited water through pipelines. The situation is set to worsen as changes in the product mix and the growth in Coca-Cola coffee and tea products may result in more water-intensive operations, as shown by the slightly higher total water use for 2006. Tribal and farming representatives have called for measures to ‘protect traditional sources of drinking water, preserve ponds and water tanks, and maintain navigable waterways’.

Local fears that Coca-Cola are causing, and exacerbating existing, water problems are certainly not unfounded. Coca-Cola’s bottling plants extract up to 1.5m litres of water from the ground per day and it takes nine litres of clean water are to manufacture just one litre of Coke. Following the opening of a the Coca-Cola plant at Kaladera in 1999, the water table level below ground fell from 12 to 37.5 metres. The Central Ground Water Board, a government agency, confirmed that the declining water table was a result of Coca-Cola’s mining of the water, and also blamed the company for causing ecological imbalances in the area. M.V.R. Mineral Water and S.R. Minerals, both contract bottlers for Coca-Cola’s bottled water Kinley, extract 132,000 litres of water each day from the surrounding area to operate the plant in Arthur Village. The bottling units are located in an area that has been designated environmentally sensitive because of the area’s importance to the water security of the region and the city of Chennai . Ironically, most of the water taken by Coca-Cola’s plants isn’t even used to manufacture drinks – of the 2.5 million litres of ground water that Coca-Cola’s bottling plant in Nemam, Tamil Nadu extracts each day, more than 70% is used for washing bottles, equipment and floors.
Coca-Cola’s bottling plants discharge saline and contaminated wastewater into the environment, polluting water resources including major rivers such as the Ganges. A Coca-Cola factory at Singhchancher, a village in the Ballia district of eastern Uttar Pradesh, has caused long-term pollution to water and land in the area due to wastewater effluent and pesticide residue. In many villages, public health authorities have been forced to post signs around wells and hand pumps advising the community that the water is unfit for human consumption. In India Coca-Cola’s water use ratio is 4:1 so that 75% of the freshwater it extracts is turned into wastewater. Coca-Cola claim that they adhere to strict rules and regulations to return wastewater to the environment after it has been treated to a safe level and to their credit, in 2006, 83% of their facilities did meet the wastewater standard . However, waste management is inconsistent as the company...

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