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INDIA: Coke and Pepsi in new environmental row

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Following the controversy sparked last week over Coke and Pepsi advertising causing environmental damage in a Himalayan pass, the companies are at the centre of fresh allegations of environmental vandalism. The Indian Express newspaper is claiming that the offending adverts are simply being painted over, causing further damage.

Running a photograph on its front page of a Coke ad covered over with yellow paint, the newspaper claimed the companies are simply trying to hide their logos by painting over them. The newspaper said that around a third of the Coke advertisements and two Pepsi ads had been painted over. It suggested the action could do further ecological damage and could even be seen as an attempt to destroy evidence. Both companies denied any knowledge of the advertisements being painted over.

Last week, India's Supreme Court called on the two companies to explain why they had painted their advertising on the eco-fragile rocks. Both Coke and Pepsi denied responsibility, claiming that local franchisees had undertaken the advertising independently and said they were taking steps to rectify the damage. They were given until 2 September to respond to the Supreme Court.

The advertisements can be seen along a 50-km stretch of highway in the Manali-Rohtang pass in Himachal Pradesh. The court ordered the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (Neeri) to inspect the rocks and assess "the damage to the ecology caused by the advertisements of Coca-Cola and Pepsi and suggest what remedial measures can be undertaken."


Companies: PepsiCo

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