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Mark Thomas

Coke Left Me Fizzing. Comic travelled the globe to explore protests over global drinks giant.

YOU know the feeling. You reach for an already previously opened plastic bottle of Coca-Cola to add as a mixer to your drink or quench your wretched thirst.
But as soon as it passes your lips, reaches your tongue, you can’t help but recoil in abject disappointment on discovering its all gone flat.
The allure of the Real Thing suddenly doesn’t seem as attractive. Instead of the sweet sensation, it leaves a bitter aftertaste in the mouth, making you wonder why you even thought of it in the first place.
Which is exactly how you feel after reading the new book from Mark Thomas, the activist-cum-journalist-cum-comedian, called Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures With Coca-Cola.
It’s a book that first disarms you with its intelligent humour, before hitting you with facts
and stories from real people whose lives it claims have been directly affected by the biggest brand on the planet.
A brand, you discover, that on average uses more than three litres of water to create every litre of product, a thirst that villagers in India, for instance, rose up and protested against fearing it was killing the very land they rely upon.
Thomas, who travelled across several regions in India to investigate, told ecoforyou that the depletion in the water tables in an area already blighted by drought had been staggering since plants bottling Coca-Cola opened there.
He said: “In terms of India, which is the one place I looked at in detail on water issues, they’ve lost two plants.
“Two plants have been shut down as a result of the protests on water depletion and pollution.
“There are two other plants that they are facing problems on. Their own reports are now saying, really you should look at shutting this down.”
“I haven’t got the research or the expertise to judge them, their water uses, globally.
“But certainly in India there are huge issues about how they work and how they treat people, and how they solve problems.”
Many of those problems are detailed in his book including one battle by residents of Plachimada, a
village in Kerala, Southern India, where huge protests led to a plant being closed over fears of what a similar plant was doing to water supplies.
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