Pollution Fine Sought Against Coca-Cola
The New York Times
March 23, 2010

A state government panel recommended Tuesday that Coca-Cola’s Indian subsidiary be fined $47 million for damage to the water and soil in a southern Indian village that it said had been caused by one of the company’s bottling plants.

The plant, which opened in 2000 and closed five years later, polluted the groundwater and soil around the village of Plachimada, in the state of Kerala, the panel said.

Coca-Cola said in a statement that it was unfortunate “that the committee in Kerala was appointed on the unproven assumption that damage was caused, and that it was caused by Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages.”

According to the panel, the bottling plant discharged a sludge that contained toxic chemicals like cadmium and lead.

After villagers complained that the water table had dropped and farms were less productive, the village council decided not to renew the plant’s license.

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