By Kritika Dagar
In Tamil Nadu, after a long history of clashes between locals and the cola plants over water, Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaippu (TNVSP), a trade body, banned Pepsi and Coke from 1st March 2017 onwards. I think it is a commendable step. The action has provided us with lessons on why Cola is more dangerous than you think.
Water is a precious commodity, now even more so as India is facing acute water shortage. Last year’s droughts brought the local people a fate one can only imagine – there was water for making Cola but not enough for drinking. Both companies have plants in Tamil Nadu, where they draw Thamirabarani river water to the tune of about 24 lakh litres per day which leaves little for the farmers.
How would you feel if someone opened up a Cola plant near your home and sucked your tap water dry? Infuriated, of course. This is what farmers there put up with.
Next these Cola companies will be selling the residents their own river water and that too at huge profit margins- The bottled water you buy is at least 10 Rupees and it is about half a litre but these companies buy river water at only about 5 paisa per liter!
To add to our woes, Cola plants also pollute river water. This is the water used for irrigation of crops that we all eat. Can you imagine Coca Cola was dumping Cadmium – a toxic metal in the farmlands of Kerela!
The next time you think that it is the farmers who poison your food, think again!
Essentially oligopolists, both Coke and Pepsi are very similar in taste and colours. They both control most of the softdrink market share and are experts in driving out local competition in every country they go. They even have a one for one match in each beverage brand – Slice for Maaza, Mountain Dew for Sprite and so on.
As kids, Pepsi and Coca Cola were our favourite beverages. Both beverages have been found to contain many toxins including heavy metals. Off the charts sugar levels are another matter. Growing up we learned about the colourful contents of these drinks, maybe this made us a little wary? But nothing has stopped Pepsico and Coca Cola from remaining the world leaders in softdrinks.
At this point you need to ask yourself – Do Colas taste that good? The answer is a resounding NO. Our generation is addicted to the sugar rush they provide – an addiction similar to that of heroin and cocaine.
And this is what children drink up happily, just because it has been provided by the parents. Clearly enough these products are not suitable for adults let alone children. But at least you are making a ‘well informed’ choice when you drink cola, children are not.
The next time you get one, stop and think about what you are drinking and at what social cost it has come to you. Do you think it’s worth it?
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