Thursday, August 18, 2016

Coca Cola's second biggest India plant "shuts" production after it was found to be flouting environmental norms

By Our Representative
The world’s leading environmental affairs site, www.theecologist.org, previously journal “The Ecologist”, has reported that Coca-Cola's second largest bottling plant in India has shut production due to “pollution violations”. It says, top NGO India Resource Centre has “confirmed” this after a visit to the plant.
The bottling plant in Hapur, Uttar Pradesh, has been “under scrutiny” by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) since 2015, the site says, adding, “A number of inspections by government regulators have found the plant to be flouting environmental laws in India, and also operating without valid licenses, or No Objection Certificate (NOC).”
“Coca-Cola has had ample time to rectify the pollution violations, and the company had prior notice before inspections”, the site says, adding, “Yet, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India's top environmental regulatory agency, and the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), the state's primary environmental regulatory agency have continued to find serious pollution violations.”
“The violations found by the state agencies include operating without a valid license, or No Objection Certificate, both in 2015 and currently in 2016 , Of the two Effluent Treatment Plants (ETPs) at the plant (one for medium and the other for high strength organic wastewater), the ETP for the high strength organic wastewater was not working and in 'defunct' state”, the site says.
Pointing out that the unit was discharging wastewater into a pond located 1.5 kilometers from the plant, the site says, the plant was “encouraging farmers to use the water from the pond for irrigation, even as pond water tested found “it is not complying the general standards.”
Noting that fecal coliform, an indicator of raw sewage, was found to exceed the standard by 3,400 times in the pond water, the site says, “The boilers and the diesel generator sets in the plant were violating air pollution laws” and the plant's two sewage treatment plants “were non-operational and in the junk state.”
“The shocking findings led the CPCB to recommend in December 2015 that the bottling plant's juice production line cease operations because the high strength organic waste was not being treated properly”, the site says.
“The CPCB also recommended that alternative arrangements for safe drinking water be made for residents in the area, applying the 'polluter pays' principle if necessary, since the groundwater has been contaminated with sewage from the untreated effluents.”, it adds.
Referring to a recent report submitted to the National Green Tribunal last month (July 2016), the site says, “Regulators continued to find problems with Coca-Cola's pollution management practices”, adding, some of the problems noted in the latest report including sludge "not handled in a scientific and manner", with "sludge drying beds and storage of sludge” being “not as per norms."
The site claims, “Coca-Cola's plant in Hapur is categorized as a highly polluting unit that generates hazardous waste”, adding, “ The latest report also sounded alarm regarding Coca-Cola's handling of hazardous waste, stating that the room for storage "is not designed in a scientific manner."
“The report by CPCB goes on to state that, 'it was established that this storage is constructed only for eye-wash purposes', noting that Coca-Cola could not even provide documents to prove that the hazardous waste generated is sent to an authorized hazardous waste treatment facility, as is required by law”, the site says.

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