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Coca-Cola Challenged at World Water Forum

Coca-Cola Challenged at World Water Forum

"Coca-Cola's Sponsorship is Like the Fox Guarding the Chicken House"

Mexico City: The India Resource Center is challenging the Coca-Cola company's sponsorship of the World Water Forum, the largest international gathering to discuss the global water crisis.

From March 16-22, 2006, Mexico is hosting the fourth World Water Forum, an important international meeting aimed at finding solutions to the global water crisis and "assuring better living standards for people all over the world and a more responsible social behavior towards water issues in-line with the pursuit of sustainable development," according to the forum organizers.

"We are at a complete loss to understand how one of the largest abusers of water resources in the world can become a leading sponsor of the World Water Forum. Coca-Cola's practices on the ground are antithetical to the stated goals of the World Water Forum," said Amit Srivastava, director of the India Resource Center and in Mexico City to attend the World Water Forum.

"Coca-Cola sponsoring the World Water Forum is akin to the fox guarding the chicken house," he continued. "It has put the very credibility of the Forum at stake. Instead of working to solve the crisis it continues to create in India, the Coca-Cola company is busy trying to manufacture an image of itself that it is not."

In articles released in the week leading up to the World Water Forum, the India Resource Center has highlighted Coca-Cola's unsustainable relationship with water.

• Coca-Cola extracted 283 billion liters of water in 2004, enough water to meet the drinking needs of the entire world's population for 10 days.

• Over 1 billion people in the world do not have access to clean drinking water today. Coca-Cola's use of water could meet the demands of this thirsty population for a month and a half.

• Coca-Cola converts two-thirds of the freshwater it extracts into wastewater. In India, it has an even worse record, turning 75% of the freshwater it extracts from the ground into wastewater.

• The Coca-Cola company is the subject of a formidable nationwide campaign in India challenging its water abuses, which have left thousands of people experiencing severe water shortages. One of Coca-Cola's largest bottling plants in India has been shut down by the community for two years.

Amit Srivastava will be speaking at the parallel NGO forum - International Forum in the Defense of Water - on Saturday, March 18 at 12:30 pm. The event will take place at the Sindicato de Telefonistas de la República Mexicana (Villalongín 50, Col. Cuauhtémoc) in Mexico City.

Mr. Srivastava will also be attending the official World Water Forum to challenge the company for its continued abuses in India and using the World Water Forum as a public relations tool.

For more information, visit http://www.IndiaResource.org/

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