Introduction

Six years after Coca-Cola’s bottling plant shut down in India’s southern state of Kerala, the company continues to face allegations claiming it caused the depletion of groundwater and polluted the water resources.

“Before, the food we cooked used to stay for 7 days. But after this plant came, the water became so bad that the food would spoil in a few hours,” says Tangammai, a farm labourer in Kerala’s village of Plachimada where the plant operated.

Crops were also affected, says local farmer Murugan. He grows coconuts just outside the plant’s perimeter and says the trees recovered only after the plant closed.

“The sludge that came out of the plant used to contaminate the rainwater and flood this area,” recalls Murugan. “As a result, the crop yield was reduced and the coconuts used to fall off without ripening. This continued for two years after the plant closed.

Things got better after that, and now, you can see, the trees are healthier.”

A recent report by the government-appointed committee in Kerala confirmed that Coca-Cola had caused severe damage to the ecology of Plachimada by over-exploiting the water resources and causing severe water shortage in the area.

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