Despite Coca-Cola’s best marketing efforts, virtually everyone already knows the world-wide popular soft drink isn’t healthy. Whether it’s the high sugar count or aspartame, or the fact that it can act as a pretty effective household cleaner, it’s pretty obvious that it’s bad for your health. Still, somehow the corporate giant is worth over $87 billion dollars. With recent findings about an unsavory contaminant having come to light, however, this may just turn people off from Coca-Cola products for good.
Human Waste Contamination Shuts Down Coca-Cola Plant
Earlier this year, a Coca-Cola factory in Lisbon, Northern Ireland was shut down for 15 hours after machines were clogged by a physical contaminant later identified as human waste (1). Representatives reported that the contaminant had come from an incoming shipment of cans which were to be filled with the soft drink. According to reports, none of the contaminant made its way into the market. “The problem was identified immediately through our robust quality procedures and all of the product from the affected batch was immediately impounded and will not be sold.” (1)
But how could this have happened? Nobody knows.
Pat Catney, SDLP MLA stated, “I am not sure how contamination could have come about. They are sticklers for hygiene, cleanliness and contamination.”
There is one theory, however, that could explain the appearance of this shocking contaminant. An anonymous source told the Belfast Telegraph, “The rumour is that some poor immigrants could have made that long journey in the lorry and that in their desperation were forced to use the cans instead of a toilet.” (2)
Coca-Cola vs. The Planet
While dangerous contaminants are by no means the norm for the Coca-Cola brand, there are still many reasons to avoid buying its ubiquitous products- far more than the effects on your individual health.
Coca-Cola products have a massive contribution to the global plastic pollution crisis. According to a Greenpeace analysis, the company increased its plastic bottle production by over 1 billion in 2017 alone, bringing annual estimates to a whopping 110 billion bottles. (3) Unfortunately, only a small portion end up properly recycled and reused; the rest are filling up landfills or littering natural space and oceans. The issue is so critical, that even seafood has traces of plastic now!
What’s more, Coca-Cola has been criticized for putting an unnecessary significant strain on limited clean drinking water resources. In January of 2017, millions of traders in India boycotted Coca-Cola and competitors like Pepsi for using up most of the area’s clean drinking water after a particularly low season of rainfall had already depleted resources. (4) Vikram Raja, president of the Vanigar Sangam trade association, stated that Coca Cola and similar companies are “exploiting the state’s water bodies to manufacture aerated drinks while farmers were facing severe drought.” (4)
What does Coca-Cola have to say about their affect on the earth’s limited resources? According to their sustainability reports, “60% of bottles and cans equivalent to what we introduced into the marketplace were refilled or recovered and recycled with our support” and “221 billion liters of water replenished through community and watershed projects across the globe”. (5) What’s more, Coca-Cola asserts they have improved water efficiency every year for the last 14 years. (6) There is a clear discrepency between the company’s own estimates and the unflattering estimates of third parties.
- (1) http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-39416944
- (2) http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/human-waste-in-cans-forces-shutdown-at-cocacola-plant-in-northern-ireland-35570541.html
- (3) https://www.theguardian.com/environment/greenpeace
- (4) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/01/indian-traders-boycott-coca-cola-for-straining-water-resources
- (5) http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/2016-sustainability-highlights-infographic
- (6) http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/2016-water-stewardship