India: Coca-Cola attacked for 'toxic' fertiliser gifts to farmers
Date: 25 Jul 2003
According to a BBC report broadcast on its Radio 4 'Face the Facts' programme, the Coca-Cola plant in Kerala has been providing commercial waste to local farmers as fertiliser which has proved to be contaminated with toxic substances.
The programme said it had discovered dangerous levels of cadmium and lead in the sludge produced by the plant which was lying on the fields of local farmers. It was alleged that the substance was actually useless as a fertiliser. BBC reporters also said they had seen waste leaving the factory to be dumped directly into a local river.
The Vice-President of Coca-Cola in India, Sunil Gupta, said that the fertiliser was absolutely safe.
However, Professor John Henry, consultant at St Mary's Hospital in London, said that the levels of toxins found in water samples taken near to the plant would cause serious problems of pollution that could have "devastating consequences".
Meanwhile, Coca-Cola is suffering a call for a boycott from unions across the world over the persistent allegations of involvement in the use of violence and intimidation by bottlers against workers in Colombia.
A current lawsuit had seen Coke removed by the judge from the case, with the process continuing against the bottlers. However, campaign groups have not been similarly satisfied that the company bears no responsibility.
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In a recent article, the BBC's economics editor Robert Peston highlighted the fact that in 2012 the chances are that the economy - punch drunk as it is from the various flavours of debt crisis it has been pummelled with over the course of the year - will be hit by the collapse of a major bank and / or government.
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