According to Coca-Cola East African General Manager Peter Njonjo, the company is planning to increase capacity in Kenya where "economic growth is boosting spending power." This is not good news for angry residents in Nairobi who contacted the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke seeking our help to get their concerns addressed.
Campaign representatives were prepared to ask the following question at Coca-Cola's April 27, 2011 annual meeting, but Coke's CEO Muhtar Kent never allowed this or many other questions damaging to Coca-Cola to be raised:
Since a group of angry residents of Nairobi, Kenya, led by a local businessman, could not be here, we want to raise some concerns, which they recently communicated to us at the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke, in a series of emails. Let me just quote the core of their emails:
"I have just discovered your website and the campaign against Coca-Cola. I live near the main Coca-Cola bottling plant in Nairobi, Kenya. For some time I have been intrigued to know why the plant produces so much noxious liquid effluent that is really making our lives unbearable. Now I know why. Coca-Cola bottling plants are great polluters.
"We'll talk more about this. We need all the help we can get, in terms of publicity, to either get the plant shut down or ordered to stop discharging noxious liquid effluent in the open. The city authorities don't seem keen to act, the Environmental Management Authority likewise. We need pressure to be exerted from external sources as the kind of campaign you lead is not common in Kenya.
"In Nairobi, Kenya, the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Embakasi, a stone's throw away from the international airport, discharges its liquid effluent into the open. This has been going on for several years, creating a massive wetland of noxious effluent. The wetland has created a perennial river of blackish effluent, which flows down to the Ngong River several kilometres away, passing by heavily populated residential estates. Nobody seems able to get the Coca-Cola bottling plant to stop discharging effluent into the open. The city authorities are aware. The environmental regulatory and management agency is aware. The effluent discharge goes on unhindered.
"Please make the point at the AGM. These guys are making millions and throwing the waste water in our faces!"
Is this a replay of what the Company has been doing in India, El Salvador, Mexico, Paw Paw, Michigan and elsewhere, destroying and polluting water resources? People in Nairobi don't want to wait any longer before this problem, highly detrimental to their health and property values, is corrected. What's your answer?
For more information, contact Kamau Kaniaru in Nairobi at Kamau.Kaniaru@gmail.com.
In February 2011, press reports described how two Kisumu-based Coca-Cola factories about 230 miles from Nairobi, operating under the name Equator Bottlers, were closed "a day after public health officers threatened to shut them over contamination of some of its bottling lines," according to AllAfrica Global Media.
"The directive to close the factories was issued by the Ministry of Public Health on Wednesday after samples of sodas from the plants were found to have impurities.
"...The Ministry of Public Health issued the notice to the company to cease operation until hygienic conditions were met...
"District public health officer for Kisumu East Naftali Bundi said his office has been receiving complaints from consumers and suppliers of the soft drinks...
"Mr. Bundi said the date of re-opening the plant will depend on how fast the management will achieve acceptable hygienic standards...
"He said that even after re-opening, public health officers will regularly visit the plant to ensure compliance.
" 'We shall carry out regular checks at least every two weeks and ensure that their workers are medically examined,' said Mr Bundi.
"Mr Wickliffe Owuor, a public health officer supervising the cleaning, said they will monitor progress at the plants until the desired hygienic standards are reached.
" 'We have been in consultation with the plant management and we are going to be visiting the firm regularly until we see that they have reached our standards,' said Mr Owuor.
"Mr Mabeya Mogaka, Kisumu East District Officer said the firm had been given up to the end of Wednesday to clear all the already mixed chemicals.
" 'They told us they were not able to close because they were likely to suffer heavy losses since they had already mixed chemicals,' he added. 'We agreed but if they continue to operate, we will send in security officers.' "
"Coke to pay former HR manager Sh6.4 million" by Maiureen Mudi, The Star, Tuesday, 07 June 2011
"Coca-Cola East and Central Africa has been ordered to pay its former Human Resource manager Sh6.4 million as compensation for what was termed as unfair termination of employment.
"Justice James Rika of the Industrial Court ruled that Maria Ligaga, who now works with Mumias Sugar Company in the same department, should be paid within 30 days of delivery of the award. Ligaga sued Coca-Cola for unfair termination of contract of her employment.
"The court ruled that Coca-Cola treated her unfairly, mismanaged her development career and derailed her ambition to move into operations management."