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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Environmental Contamination at Big Cola

Every commercial activity must abide by a multitude of regulations to ensure that it does not contaminate the air, water and soils with the rest of us also inhabit. Not all businesses act responsibly with respect to the basic principles of taking care of the earth and respecting your neighbors, however. Among them is a bottling plant known for its most visible product, Big Cola.

Big Cola Nicaragua
This red liquid was recently released from the Big Cola plant operated by Aje Group, in Managua.

FUNDECI is participating in a neighborhood initiative to force the Big Cola bottling plant to meet minimum environmental standards. The plant emits contaminating liquids into an adjacent ditch, which run directly into Lake Managua, also known as Lake Xolotlán. This is in obvious, direct violation of Nicaraguan law. The liquids often are of opaque colors, as if they were paints. 

water pollution
Big Cola dumps severely contaminated water into a drainage ditch in Managua.
Neighbors have reported noxious odors, especially following gas releases which can be heard coming from high-pressure tanks. No one knows precisely what is being released into the atmosphere in these events, but the alarm regarding the disregard for the environment shown by the company leads the neighbors to suspect the worst. 
Machinery in this plant operates at a very high noise level, violating the rights of neighbors to a low levels of background noise. Indications for the adequate maximum noise levels in a neighborhood are developed by the World Health Organization of the United Nations. These guidelines are not respected at the Big Cola factory, where noises fill the surrounding neighborhoods at levels which affect the physical and emotional well-being of its occupants. The WHO indications are guidelines for sound contamination in Nicaraguan law.

Nicaragua
The eastern side of the Big Cola bottling plant in Managua.
Heavy machinery in the Big Cola plant also create enormous vibrations of the ground. The neighbors have mentioned that they fear seismic repercussions from all this vibration.

A public meeting was held at the Big Cola bottling plant in Managua, 27 June 2014. The meeting was attended by officials from several Nicaraguan government offices, the Big Cola plant, and dozens of neighbors. In the meeting, the issues of noise and water and air pollution were presented. As can be seen in the photos and videos, the Big Cola bottling plant produces unhealthy levels of noise to its employees and the neighborhood and dumps liquids without proper treatment.


The Big Cola bottling plant is supposedly protected by International Free Trade Zone Laws (see CAFTA Nicaragua), This protection, however, does not provide any allowance for harming its employees, neighbors or the environment!
Would you like to be involved in the struggle to make Big Cola comply with Nicaraguan environmental laws? Please contact us! On the behalf of the neighbors of the Pedro Joaquin Chamorro neighborhood and all who love Managua, we send out an SOS!
Environmental volunteers can be involved in a variety of projects, from reforestation to wild animal rehabilitation, to environmental legal concerns and education. We can provide Spanish training and assign volunteers and interns throughout Nicaragua.

Para leer en español, haga clic aquí

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