Friday, August 18, 2006

Cola and Pesticides: Skirting real issues?

Centre for Science and Environment has (again) found out that the levels of pesticides in bottled softdrinks are high. Kerala and Karnataka Governments have already banned the drinks. Many environmental and social activists seem to be welcoming the ban.

I smell a rat. Now what has happened is that the main issue is that the Colas have pestisides in them! And both the times, these "findings" appeared when the people's struggle against the exploitation of ground water was beginning to gain attention. There is enough reason to believe that all this is happening as a big game to skirt the real issues and divert people's attention.

[see
INDIA: Coca-Cola swallows villagers' fresh water

Communities Protest Coca-Cola in Tamil Nadu
The people in Sivganga in Tamil Nadu are agitating against a soft drink maker's plans to exploit large amounts of water from the region, which is already facing water scarcity.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3096893.stm
Waste product from a Coca-Cola plant in India which the company provides as fertiliser for local farmers contains toxic chemicals, a BBC study has found.]

Last year, the Edinburgh Students Association at University of Edinburgh brought a motion of boycott of coke. The reason given was the exploitation of ground water in Kerala and ill treatment of workers in Columbia. This motion was not passed, but I feel it was more genuine than the CSE's findings and the bans that followed.

Not the least, these findings also hide the real cause for concern regarding these pesticide levels-- the extent to which the continued use of pesticides have been contaminated. [see this Hindu article: They told me they were safe..]

7 comments:

LI said...

Well , Cola ban :) . Dnt go by what media and communits say . Think clearly :-D

sudeep said...

as in..? could you explain what you mean to say? it wasn't the communists who started the battle against exploitation of ground water in plachimada or shivaganga.. (in fact Nayanar was CM when the plachimada struggle started, and CPM didn't want to join the struggle, though some DYFI activists did)

george said...

Many a things like tobaco (chewing and smoking)alcoholic beverages of second quality containing high amount of metahnol etc are still made and sold.Hence it is hypocritical

sudeep said...

yes gerge, but what i was trying to say is that the NGO's findings and the banning of colas is not just a hypocritical act, but also an attempt to deviate the attention from the more serious issue of exploitation of ground water.

sudeep said...

also see this letter to editor, more than an year old.

LI said...

The crux of the issue is ground water pollution and when you see the hurry in which communists banned colas and wants to make Kerala a
href="http://lijoz.blogspot.com/2006/08/comrade-achu-says-microsoft-free-zone.html"/> microsoft free zone
, just wondering whether they are batting for those archaic ideals.

sudeep said...

ground water pollution is a serious issue but is a different issue. it has nothing much to do with colas (except that colas contribute to ground water pollution in ways that they can). so coming up with a report saying colas have pesticides in it (when in fact all ground water has) banning colas on the basis of that is helping colas and turning a blind eye towards the serious case against colas-- that of exploitation of ground water. remember that the contamination of ground water and the huge pesticide and chemical fertilizers were all biproducts of out "green revolution", and the green revolution man M S Swaminathan is the CSE director now. CPM has become a toy in this game:-(