Coca-Cola is the biggest polluter in the world, audit finds

Coca-Cola is the biggest polluter in the world, audit finds

A new audit has found that Coca-Cola is the biggest polluter in the world.

It was conducted by the global movement Break Free From Plastics, which obtained its findings from the work of 72,000 volunteers who combed beaches, waterways and streets for litter on a single day in September this year, The Intercept reports.

In the video below, climate activist Greta Thunberg rebukes world leaders for failing to tackle the issue: 

The cleanup, which took place around the world, led to the recovery of 50 different types of plastic from 8,000 different brands.

A whopping 475,000 pieces of litter were collected and 11,732 of them came from Coca-Cola. Other major brands responsible for the pollution included Nestle, PepsiCo, and Mondelez International.

Two bottles of Coca-Cola and a bottle of Pepsi. Credit: PA Images

Von Hernandez, the global coordinator of the Break Free From Plastic movement, said in a statement: "This report provides more evidence that corporations urgently need to do more to address the plastic pollution crisis they've created."

"Their continued reliance on single-use plastic packaging translates to pumping more throwaway plastic into the environment. Recycling is not going to solve this problem."

Plastic waste. Credit: Pexels

Coca-Cola responded in an email to the audit, writing: "Any time our packaging ends up in our oceans - or anywhere that it doesn't belong - is unacceptable to us."

"In partnership with others, we are working to address this critical global issue, both to help turn off the tap in terms of plastic waste entering our oceans and to help clean up the existing pollution."

A woman holding plastic. Credit: Pexels

However, while Coca-Cola has publicly stated that it is "investing locally in every market to increase recovery of our bottles and cans", leaked documents discovered by The Intercept suggested that the company was trying to "fight back" against attempts to increase the rate of recycling in the UK, despite complying with other schemes elsewhere in the world.

Louise Edge, head of Greenpeace UK's ocean plastics campaign, said in a statement from 2017: "Coke was parading a vague plan to reduce its plastic footprint."

"But these revelations show that Coke's real plan is to keep churning out millions of single-use plastic bottles and take no responsibility for what happens to them."