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High cadmium at Coke plants in WB
August 08, 2003 20:08 IST
After Plachimada in Kerala's Palakkad district, the presence of cadmium, a toxic metal, was detected in quantities above the hazardous level in the sludge of Coca-Cola bottling plants located in three West Bengal districts, including Kolkata.
West Bengal Pollution Control Board, which collected the sludge samples from both Coca-Cola and Pepsi's bottling plants in the state discovered that the cadmium level was 50 mg/kg in Jalpaiguri's Raninagar area, 76 mg/kg in Kolkata's Taratola area, 80 mg/kg at Dankuni in Hooghly and 27.12 mg/kg at Narendrapur in South 24-Parganas districts.
Cadmium above 50 mg/kg is considered to be a health hazard.
The PCB also found that toxic lead was above permissible limits from liquid effluents collected from Coca-Cola's Dankuni plant.
Environment Minister Manab Mukherjee told reporters that the state government had asked the two companies to explain the phases of production which led sludge to contain an alarming rate of cadmium and lead 'since none of the units had declared in their consent application about process inputs containing the toxic metals.'
He also directed both Coca-Cola and Pepsi companies not to dump sludge with other wastes and take responsibility to isolate and treat harmful elements.
The sludge samples were collected from the Hindustan Coca-cola Beverages Pvt Ltd in the Raninanagar Industrial Estate, Jalpaiguri, Diamond Beverages Ltd (Coca-Cola franchise) at Taratola, Kolkata, Bengal Beverages Ltd (Coca-Cola franchise) at Dankuni, Hooghly, PepsiCo (I) holdings (a Pepsicola unit) at Narendrapur, South 24-Parganas districts.
Liquid effluents were collected from Coke's Bengal Beverages Pvt Limited, Dankuni, PCB sources said.
The PCB submitted its report to the West Bengal environment minister during the day.
The minister said that the PCB would submit another report to him on the presence of pesticides in bottled drinks on Tuesday.
The report on sludge samples would be sent to the Central Pollution Control Board during the day.
To a question, Mukherjee said all reports would be sent to the state health ministry for action.
The minister said that the state government had no immediate plan to close down any of the units of the two soft drinks majors in West Bengal.
Health Minister Surya Kanta Mishra said that there was no scope for the state government to take action against the companies as this was only something that the Centre could do. "We will send the reports to the Centre."
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