Mexico — Portable drinking water is scarce in Mexico’s rainiest region San Cristóbal de las Casas but the beverage drink Coca-Cola is widely available says Maria del Carmen Abadía who lives in the region which is a mountain town in the southeastern state of Chiapas.
In this area running water is so scarce that is available for only a few times a week. This beverage in cheap rates and easily available to find than a bottled water bottle, hence the locals are more accustomed to drinking Coca-Cola than the normal water, the New York Times reported.
Chiapas is the country’s top consumer of sugary drinks with an average of consuming more than two liters of this drink on daily basis so are the increasing number of diabetes cases in this region.
The mortality rate from diabetes in Chiapas has increased up to 30 percent in the past 5 years and now it has become the second leading cause of death after Heart disease which claims more than 3,000 lives every year.
“Soft drinks have always been more available than water,” says Ms. Abadía, who works as a security guard is suffering from obesity and diabetes.
A doctor in the nearby farming town named Vicente Vaqueiros, 33, says workers, citizens are now struggling to deal with Diabetes.
“When I was a kid and used to come here, Chamula was isolated and didn’t have access to processed food,” he said. “Now, you see the kids drinking Coke and not water. Right now, diabetes is hitting the adults, but it’s going to be the kids next. It’s going to overwhelm us,” he adds.
But now with the overwhelming rise of the second biggest cause of death- Diabetes, residents in the region blame only one culprit and that is the Coca-Cola factory located in the region which has permits to extract more than 300,000 gallons of water a day.
The sanction is a part of a decades-old deal with the federal government which is now having adverse effects on public health.
But the public ire does not seem to stand this anymore as they are demanding the government to close the plant down.
“When you see that institutions aren’t providing something as basic as water and sanitation, but you have this company with secure access to one of the best water sources, of course, it gives you a shock,” said Fermin Reygadas, the director of Cántaro Azul, an organization that provides clean water to rural communities.
Rains are not like before in the region which is the major reasons for the water scarcity.
A biochemist at a local research center says: “It doesn’t rain like it used to,” adding, “Almost every day, day and night, it used to rain.”