Coca Cola accused of causing water shortages

Villagers in the Indian State of Kerala are accusing Coca Cola of causing severe water shortages and environmental contamination.

The villagers say that the Coca Cola bottling plant is draining the water that feeds their wells and contaminating the land with waste sludge.

Charity group, Action Aid, say that villagers noticed changes in their water supply just six months after the factory had begun operating in 2000. They say local villagers reported that the water levels had receded and had turned brackish and milky white in colour. Many villagers also reported upset stomachs, the charity says.

Scientists from Exeter University who tested samples of the water found it contained high levels of cadmium and lead and, “would cause severe nuisance and hardship.”

Coca Cola deny the allegations saying there is no evidence of overexploitation of groundwater reserves. The company points to a rainwater harvesting programme it has implemented to help recharge the groundwater table and says it has supplied villagers with water from tanker trucks.

However, villagers see the fact that Coca Cola have attempted to give away free water as proof of guilt and are continuing to protest.



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