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Dec, 23 2015

NGT may disrupt on Coca-Cola\'s plant pollution

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) said \"facts in a pollution report\" it had ordered on HCCB\'s plant at Mussoorie Gulawati Road industrial area in Ghaziabad were \"alarming\".

Coca-Cola's bottling arm Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages may face disruptions at one of its bigger plants after environment watchdog National Green Tribunal issued a notice to the company seeking explanations on its plant's drainage and waste "polluting" the environment, reported ET.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) said "facts in a pollution report" it had ordered on HCCB's plant at Mussoorie Gulawati Road industrial area in Ghaziabad were "alarming". It also said the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) should take note of the matter in the interest of environment.

A company spokesperson told that HCCB will file its response to the tribunal's notice over its plant at Mussoorie Gulawathi Road industrial area in Ghaziabad to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and UPPCB before the next NGT hearing on January 14, 2016.

The plant has ensured compliance to all regulatory requirements since its inception in 1999, said the company spokesperson. This is the third bottling plant of the top beverages maker to get embroiled in controversy over environmental issues and going by past experiences it may impact its operations.

HCCB's plant at Plachimada in Kerala is no longer functional following local agitations while its plant in Varanasi is also facing local resistance over charges of ground water depletion. The Mussoorie Gulawati Road plant, which makes soft drinks and juices, is one of the many HCCB plants in UP.

The company defended that, saying the Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation (UPSIDC) had not provided drainage system in this industrial area and directed the beverage maker to discharge waste at a designated pond.

NGT, in its notice dated December 11, said an inspection found the said pond to be overflowing with effluents. The tribunal has sought clarifications from HCCB before passing any order and directed it to submit its entire drainage map, explaining how sewage as well as trade effluents flow out and move to the pond.

The company spokesperson said, "Since the commencement of operations of our plant, all treated effluents generated by the HCCB plant are in conformity with the prescribed standards."

"Since its inception, our plant has been operating under all requisite government licenses, registrations and approvals including those in relation to air, water and hazardous waste. Every material aspect of the functioning of the plant was accordingly subject to the scrutiny of the appropriate regulatory authorities and we have ensured compliance to the same at all times", he adds.

In February this year, local agitation had led to HCCB relocating its plans to expand operations in Varanasi, after failing to get an NOC from the Central Ground Water Authority.

HCCB had announced it was altering plans to set up a proposed PET line at its Varanasi plant and relocating it elsewhere. It continues to operate a glass bottle line in Varanasi plant even as local villagers demand its closure, accusing the firm of depleting excessive ground water.

In 2005, Coca-Cola had shut down its plant at Plachimada following the Kerala State Pollution Board ordering its closure on allegations of excessive ground water depletion.


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