Plachimada (Kerala), Apr 25 : Villagers in Kerala's Plachimada village continue to demand the closure of the Coca Cola plant, saying that it poses a threat to the environment.
Claiming that thousands of people had been adversely affected by the plant, social activist, Medha Patkar, who is spearheading the protest, said the plant is damaging the area's ground water resources.
"It is not just the coloured beverage which is anyway poisonous as proved by the scientists of the Center of Science, but it is also the bottling of water that has really exploited our ground reserves that has killed our aquifers, and that has really encroached upon the people's rights to natural resources and the right to plan with those resources," said Patkar.
The protests have been on for the last six years.
Several groups have accused the Coca Cola Group of depleting the ground water resource and selling polluted or contaminated soft drinks, a charge contested by Coke.
In December 2004, a single bench of Kerala High Court had ordered Coca-Cola to find an alternate source of water for its high production needs.
Protests engulfed the country when a New Delhi-based green lobby reported that Coca Cola and other soft drinks contained pesticide residues beyond permissible limits.
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) conducted tests at its laboratory on 12 brands of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo drinks and allegedly found four pesticides and insecticides in them.
The group claimed that soft drinks in India had high pesticide content because the soft drink and bottled water industry used an enormous amount of ground water as basic raw material. Similar tests on drinks sold in the United States found no toxins.