Environment

Coca-Cola Has Poisoned the Drinking Water of Millions in Sri Lanka

The beverage giant apologized for leaking diesel fuel into the Kelani River, leaving millions without water.

Photo Credit: MAHATHIR MOHD YASIN/Shutterstock.com

It was reported this week that the Coca-Cola corporation has apologized for leaking diesel fuel into the Kelani river, and is promising to pay compensation to the victims of the spill. However, millions of Sri Lankans are now left without water as a result of the spill because the Kelani river is the primary drinking water source for many large areas.

Investigations recently uncovered that an explosion at one of the company’s facilities on August 17th was responsible for the spill.

Prof. LM Dharmasiri, Chairman of the Central Environment Authority, Sri Lanka, said that the contamination was “due to an explosion at the plant during construction carried out by a private contractor”. The statement was made just after the organization suspended the factory’s license to operate and threatened further legal penalties against the company.

In a move to avoid high payments in court, Coca-Cola is reportedly pressuring the government to allow them to settle the issue out of court.

“If there are doubts out there in the general public (about Coca-Cola) whether based on perception or based on reality, then the leader has to stand up,” James Quincey, the new head of Coca-Cola said in a recent statement admitting responsibility for the disaster.

This week, before news of the contamination went public, Coca-Cola released a public relations press release stating that they would be committed to replenishing the water that they used up and contaminated with their factories. It seems that this statement was released with full knowledge of the Kelani river disaster.

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John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist.

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