Indian farmers use Coca-Cola and Pepsi as a cheaper alternative to pesticides and they are highly efficient
It has been written by Alok Prasad Putul that Indian farmers are using Coca-Cola and Pepsi as a replacement for pesticides. So this means that these beverages have other uses worldwide, and they are very poisonous to our health.
The India’s voluntary agency – the Center for Science and Environment (CSE), states farmer are using Coca-Cola and Pepsi as an alternative to the regular pesticides, because these soft drinks which are produced in India, are much cheaper than pesticides, and they contain high amount of pesticide residues.
Also, for example, in the third countries, it is actually cheaper to buy Coca-Cola than to find drinking water. Many tests have been conducted on this beverage to see its effects in cleaning, and they showed that Coke is very efficient in cleaning paint off the cabinets, tile grout and also oil stains.
Another test has been conducted in 2003 by CSE, in which they analyzed 12 top soft drink manufacturers and found out that each of them contains residues of the 4 highly toxic insecticides and pesticides – chlorpyrifos, malathion, DDT and lindane.
The director of CSE, Sunita Narain, stated at one press conference:
The European Economic Commission (EEC) set down that each of the soft drinks that were analyzed, contained an amount of pesticide residue that is much higher than the maximum allowed amount if pesticide of 0.0005mg in a liter of water, that is used in food.
The CDS scientists stated the following facts, that in comparison to the allowed limits of the EEC, the levels of lindane were 21 times higher – which is also banned in the United States, there were 87 higher levels of malathion and the level of chloropyrifos was 42 times higher than the maximum permissible limit. And also these residues can cause severe disruption of the immune system, damage to the reproductive and nervous system, birth defects and also cause long0term cancer.
These analysis also showed that both Pepsi and Coca-Cola soft drink contain very similar levels of pesticide residues – the residues in Coca-Cola contains 45 times higher levels than the permitted norms of EEC, and Pepsi has 37 times higher levels of pesticide residues.
But the chiefs of the Indian subsidiaries of Pepsi and Coca-Cola stated that this information is false.
The president of Coca-Cola India – Sanjeev Gupta, said that these findings by the CSE were not true and unfair, and they subject his company to a ‘trial by media’.
The companies that produce these soft drinks say that their products do not have any substances that control pests, and they deny that they are used as an alternative to pesticides.
On the other hand, another statement from the farmers in the Dhamtari, Rajnandgaon, and Durg districts of Chhattisgarh is that they have been using Coca-Cola and Pepsi to eliminate pests on their rice plantations.
Due to this, the sale of these drinks was increased, particularly in remote villages. In comparison to the three most popular pesticides in India, Nuvocron, Tracer and Avant which cost about 10,000 rupees – about £ 120, the cost for 1 ½ liters of Coca-Cola is about 30 rupees.
So, the farmer will save about 55-60 rupees per acre, if he mixes one bottle of Coke or Pepsi with some water and uses it to spray the crops. But it is still unknown how efficient it actually is.
Devendra Sharma – an agricultural specialist, states that the farmers are making a big mistake by replacing the pesticides with these soft drinks, because they are actually sugar syrups and when they are sprayed on the crops they attract the red ants, and they serve as a kind of food for the larva of insects.
On the other hand, there are many other products that are actually used for this purpose. Farmers say that Thumbs Up, Pepsi, and other soft drinks and beverages that are produced locally are also very efficient in this purpose.
All the cola products contain sugar and water, but some products also contain phosphoric acids and citric acids as well.
Devendra Sharma says that this method of spraying sugar syrup on pests has been used for a long time:
Another thing that has been used frequently as a pesticide is Jaggery made from sugar cane. The same effect can be obtained with the use of Coca-Cola and Pepsi. The red ants feed on the larva of insects, and that is why the farmers use sugar syrup mixture to attract the red ants. This is also the same for the colas.
Sanket Thakur, who is a fellow scientist of Sharma, has a different point of view for this method:
The efficiency of the soft drinks as a pesticide is because the sugar and the carbohydrates from the soft drinks, improve the immunity of the plants and then it grows in a healthier and better crop.
In America, the Coke is abundant in high fructose corn syrup, which can act as a great pesticide due to its content as a concentrated cocktail of glucose and fructose.
On the other hand, Anupam Verma – the sales manager of Pepsi in Chhattisgarh, says that the increase of 20% in the sales in rural areas is not due to this reason.
If any of these statements were actually true, than it is better to sell their product as a type of a pesticide rather than a soft drink. We would make bigger profit if we present it as a pesticide and make a huge sale. Their statements are not true. It is an idle matter.
Sapna Johnson and H.B. Mathur – who are CSE scientists, say that these soft drinks are made from groundwater, as their water supply -- and this water has been contaminated with numerous pesticides for many years now, and that is their basic inference.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) have conducted a study in which they discovered a huge amount of pesticide residues in the Delhi’s groundwater and also content of fluoride and nitrate, excessive salinity, and presence of traces of chromium, cadmium and lead.
The CSE laboratories tested these soft drinks and discovered that they did not contain any pesticides, besides the fact that almost 95% of these drinks are produced with the municipal water supplies that have the exact pharmaceuticals and toxins which are also present in the drinking water like: gemfibrozil, carbamazepine, trimethropin, chlorine, atrazine, arsenic, sulfamethoxazole, fluoride and estrone.
The CSE also discovered that the huge and powerful industry of soft drinks has weaker regulations compared to the bottled water industry, and the quality of soft drinks is not regulated properly.
In conclusion we can say that using cola as an alternative to pesticides is safer and better than the regular pesticides, even though we know that it is not a natural and organic product.