You may not believe this, but Pepsi and Coca Cola are used in India as a substitute to pesticides. According to Alok Prasad Putul:“Farmers in India have been using Pepsi and Coca–Cola as a cheaper alternative to pesticides.”
The Center for Science and Environment (CSE) states that fizzy beverages produced in India among which are Pepsi and Coca-Cola, contain extremely high levels of pesticide residues, and because of that, farmers in India utilize them against pests since they are cheaper than the conventional used pesticides.
In under developed countries, buying Coke is cheaper than having clean water. Likewise, this beverage has been tested for its cleaning effects where it was discovered that it is pretty much effective in cleaning oil stains, tile grout and even strip paint off the cabinets.
The CSE, in 2003, have performed an analysis on soft drink samples from 12 main manufacturers of soft drinks and the findings showed that all of them had residues of 4 highly toxic pesticides and insecticides DDT, lindane, malathion and chlorpyrifos.
Sunita Narain, the director of this voluntary agency, CSE, released the following statement at a press conference:
“In all the samples tested, the levels of pesticide residue far exceeded the maximum permissible total pesticide limit of 0.0005 mg per liter in water used as food, set down by the European Economic Commission (EEC).”
Scientists of CDS revealed that the chlorpyrifos levels were 42 times higher, the residues of malathion were 87 times higher, and the levels of lindane, a substance banned in the U. S. were21 times higher from the approved limits of EEC. Furthermore, scientists reported that the toxins could lead to damage to the nervous and reproductive systems, long-term cancer, birth defects, and great disturbance in the immune system.
The CSE revealed that both Coca-Cola and Pepsi samples had nearly the same concentrations of pesticide residues. In fact, the contaminants in Coca-Cola were 45 times higher than the EEC limits, and Pepsi samples were 37 times higher. However, this data was negated by the chiefs of the Indian subsidiaries of Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
The president of Coca-Cola India, Sanjeev Gupta claimed that these allegations by CSE were “unfair” and that his company was put to a “trial by media”. Furthermore, the soft drinks companies negate the fact that these products are utilized instead of pesticides because they do not have anything in their content that may control pests.
Contrary to their statement, farmers in the Durg, Rajnandgaon and Dhamtari districts of Chhattisgarh frequently use Pepsi and Coke to fight off pests on their rice plantations. Thanks to the use as a pesticide the sale of these drinks has risen in remote villages. What is even more interesting the price of these drinks when compared to the standard pesticides is substantially cheaper, for instance 1liter of the three most popular pesticides in India, Avant, Tracer and Nuvocron costs about 10,000 rupees (£120), and 1.5 liters of Coca-Cola cost just 30 rupees.
So for an Indian farmer the mixture of Pepsi or Coke with water would cost 55 to 60 rupees less per acre. However, there isn’t backed up proof of this technique.
The agricultural specialist, Devendra Sharma, states that farmers’ belief that these soft drinks are the same as pesticides is wrong, as the drinks contain plenty of sugar, which on the other hand attracts red ants that feed on the larva of insects.
Not only Pepsi and Coca Cola are used for the purpose of pesticide also other locally produced soft beverages are used as according to farmers they are as well as effective.
The content of all colas is based on water and sugar, and some manufacturers also include citric and phosphoric acids.
However, the practice of using sugar syrup on pests is very old tradition, says Mr. Sharma: “Jaggery made from sugar cane has been used commonly for pest control on many occasions. Pepsi and Coca-Cola are being used to achieve the same result. Farmers have traditionally used sugary solutions to attract red ants to feed on insect larvae. I think the colas are also performing the same role.”
The scientist, Sanket Thakur defines this issue differently: “All that is happening is that plants get a direct supply of carbohydrates and sugar which in turn boosts the plants’ immunity and the plantation on the whole ends up yielding a better crop.”
The Coca Cola in U.S. is packed with high fructose corn syrup which may as well as be used as an effective pesticide because it contains simple sugars fructose and glucose.
Anupam Verma, the Pepsi sales manager in Chhattisgarh, maintains that although the sales have risen by 20% in rural areas of the country, the reason for increased sale is not because these beverages are used as pesticides: “If there was any truth in these claims then we would rather be selling our product as a pesticide rather than soft drinks. There is more money in selling pesticides than in selling soft drinks. Their claim smacks of lies. At best it is idle matter.”
According to CSE scientists H. B. Mathur and Sapna Johnson the water that Indian manufacturers use for the production of the soft drinks is drawn from groundwater, which is highly contaminated over the years of frequent use of various pesticides.
A conducted study by the government’s Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) confirmed that there are high pesticide residues in the groundwater around Delhi, and also traces of lead, chromium, cadmium, nitrate, fluoride and excessive salinity.
More testing was done on the samples of these popular soft drinks in the CSE laboratories and it was revealed that in their content there aren’t any pesticides, although over 95% of them are made with municipal water supplies which have in their content the same toxins and pharmaceuticals like our drinking water, including: arsenic, atrazine, atenolol,chlorine,estrone, fluoride, gemfibrozil, sulfamethoxazole, and trimethoprim carbamazepine.
The CSE discovered that when bottled water industry is concerned the regulations are stricter which is not the case with the regulations of the massive soft drinks industry, and as well as the quality of the cold drink is not checked properly.
Even though this may seem strange the use of cola as a pesticide in a way is much safer than the use of other conventional pesticides!
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