Coca-Cola: Not “The Real Thing” in India

coca-cola-sucking-well-dry-in-indiaAh, Coca-Cola.

Refreshing, thirst-quenching, delicious.

As American as baseball and apple pie.

Right?

Not in India.

Although Western mainstream media headlined Coca-Cola’s plans to increase its market share in India by $5 billion, what it failed to mention is that communities located near the beverage giant’s India bottling plants are not exactly rolling out the red carpet.

According to the India Resource Center (IRC), “Communities across India living around Coca-Cola’s bottling plants are experiencing severe water shortages, directly as a result of Coca-Cola’s massive extraction of water from the common groundwater resource. The wells have run dry and the hand water pumps do not work any more.”

As detailed by the IRC, further impingements upon Indian communities by Coca-Cola include:

  • polluting groundwater & soil with waste from its plants, rendering the community’s drinking water “unfit for human consumption
  • selling toxic waste to Indian farmers as “fertilizer
  • selling its product in unregulated form (as outlined by the IRC, the Coca-Cola sold in India  contains arsenic and “high levels of pesticides…that could never be sold in the US or the EU”)  
india-protests-against-coca-cola

Indian protest demanding the closure of Coca-Cola factories due to groundwater poisoning.

Says the IRC, “Water shortages, pollution of groundwater and soil, exposure to toxic waste and pesticides is having impacts of massive proportions in India.

In a country where over 70% of the population makes a living related to agriculture, stealing the water and poisoning the water and soil is a sure recipe for disaster.

Thousands of farmers in India have been affected by Coca-Cola’s practices, and Coca-Cola is guilty of destroying the livelihoods of thousands of people in India.”

A BBC report briefly mentions Coca-Cola’s plans to expand into Burma, a country freshly emerging  from horrific unrest. Also briefly mentioned in one context-free sentence, is Coca-Cola’s retreat from Cuba following Fidel Castro’s Revolution – coupled with an unrelated mention of North Korea.

Though largely unreported by Western mainstream news media, Coca-cola has an interesting history of accusations of violence against foreign unions, and other oppressive business practices in various countries around the globe.

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Do you drink Coke?

What do you think about the Coca-Cola corporation’s contamination and depletion of India’s land & water?

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World News Wednesday

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19 thoughts on “Coca-Cola: Not “The Real Thing” in India

  1. Pingback: Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 28) | Sylver Blaque

  2. Good post and glad I read it! I don’t really drink the stuff and thank God, for some reason, neither of my children like it and won’t drink it at all. It makes me sick that big corporations can get away with this and I am sure that this is just the tip of the ice burg!!

    Its not just US companies but also the companies of Americas followers and grovellers like my native UK that take advantage of the disadvantaged. Its amazing what I now know about the “Great British” Empire that I was never taught at school.

    Talking of India I have been there a lot and it would not surprise me if their massively corrupt elite and Government are quite happy for Coca Cola to do whatever they like as long as its not near the plush tree lined avenues of the Government areas and they get something out of it!!

    • Well, I’ll just bet your kids have a sixth sense! 🙂 It really is sad how we take advantage of developing nations in this way. And it’s funny that you mention all the things you now know that were never taught in school: I experience this each time I travel, and I marvel that such enormously relevant info is left out of our education.

      As for India’s corrupt government, I guess ‘corruption’ and ‘government’ are a hand in a glove the world over. 😐

      Thank you for this engaging comment!

  3. I think this is a naive question, but why would they make is differently elsewhere? To save money? I’ll have to look into this. I’m addicted to it, actually get a migraine if I don’t have it. Obviously thats a bad sign. I’ve wanted to quit. This may do it.

    • Not a naive question at all. Most of us have no idea about the things our corporations do in foreign countries because such knowledge is deliberately kept away from us for fear that we may boycott their products (which means loss of profits) to protest their destructive practices overseas.

      The short answer to your question is: because they can. And yes, it’s all about the almighty dollar.

      Many foreign countries don’t have FDA protection, and so U.S. corporations target these countries in which to do business in order to save big bucks because of not having the expense of meeting FDA requirements. For example, chemicals which do not meet FDA requirements here in the U.S. can be used freely overseas without penalty. And because of environmental controls here, corporations cannot just siphon up all the water in any community the way they are doing in India. The list is incredibly long of the things our corporations cannot do here, but engage in freely & dangerously overseas. It’s truly stomach-turning. And the ubiquitous presence of U.S. corporations overseas who engage in destructive, money-saving practices that devastate foreign communities & lives is one of the major reasons foreigners come to hate America.

  4. In developing Asia, products are rarely what they seem to be. In China for example, there was recent evidence that carcinogens were being put in Coca Cola products. Now, the company is in damage control as 1.3 billion people have been scared away.

    • I just read learned about this – but in Brazil, Kenya, Mexico & the UAE. Between these countries, millions of people have fallen ill from coca-cola carcinogens, and depending on the country, the company alternates between denying it or promising to rectify it. I didn’t know China was on the list, too. Thanx for the info!

  5. With or without the Indian arsenic version, Coke is a horrible product. I am glad mom explained why she wouldn’t buy it or allow me to have it. “You can disolve a nail in it.” And some of those home do-it-yourself-and-save-money solutions for cleaning problems (a la Ask Heloise) suggest using Coke to remove rust stains. What is the impact on the human body? It can’t be good.

    As to the environmental impact on the Indian population – for shame.

    • Two words that best sum up this issue: “For shame!”

      Indian arsenic version? Wth??

      And, really, this should be the advertising tag line for an FDA-approved beverage that’s capable of removing rust stains: “Coke. You can dissolve a nail in it!” 😀

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