Nestlé Faces More Opposition Over New Plans for Water Extraction Project in Ecologically Threatened Area

By Jason Erickson

Nestlé seems to be doing its level best to compete with companies like Monsanto/Bayer for the award of most hated corporation in the world.

Ever since Nestlé CEO Peter Brabeck stated that water is not a human right, the public has become aware that the company’s ethos does not favor the health of the environment.

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Moreover, when it was revealed that Nestlé was also connected to child slavery during its production of cocoa in West Africa, it has become clear that human health isn’t all that important either.

As Reuters reports, three former Malian child laborers, known as “John Does” in the case, “contend the companies aided and abetted human rights violations through their active involvement in purchasing cocoa from Ivory Coast. While aware of the child slavery problem, the companies offered financial and technical assistance to local farmers in a bid to guarantee the cheapest source of cocoa, the plaintiffs said.” West African nations are some of the largest exporters of cocoa, and though Nestle does not employ child slaves directly, the company consistently engages in business deals with farmers who do.

This is on top of myriad water extraction projects that have drawn the ire of many communities. Our archives show the long list.

The latest battleground is taking shape along a pristine river in Florida that is known to be part of “string of pearls,” an ecologically rich but fragile area.  The source is Ginnie Springs, which The Guardian reveals is being targeted by Nestlé to be extracted from and sold back to the public as bottled water.

“The question is how much harm is it going to cause the spring, what kind of change is going to be made in that water system?” said Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, a director of the not-for-profit Our Santa Fe River.

“The Santa Fe River is already in decline [and] there’s not enough water coming out of the aquifer itself to recharge these lovely, amazing springs that are iconic and culturally valued and important for natural systems and habitats.

“It’s impossible to withdraw millions of gallons of water and not have an impact. If you take any amount of water out of a glass you will always have less.”

Additionally, Malwitz-Jipson said, the Santa Fe River and its associated spring habitats are home to 11 native turtle species and four non-native species, which rely on a vigorous water flow and river levels.

“Few places on Earth have as many turtle species living together and about a quarter of all North American freshwater turtle species inhabit this small river system. A big threat to this diversity is habitat degradation, which will happen with reduced flows.”

It’s difficult at this point not to expect the very worst from a company that expanded its privatization of water in Michigan even as nearby Flint was dealing with one of the worse water crises in history.

Fortunately, there are signs that people are already rising up and voicing their outrage. Hopefully it will be enough to stop this latest assault:

Campaigners against Nestlé’s plan, who have set up an online forum and petition and submitted dozens of letters of opposition ahead of a decision that could come as early as November, say that environmental grounds alone should be enough to disqualify the plan.

Jason Erickson writes for This article (Nestlé Faces More Opposition Over New Plans for Water Extraction Project in Ecologically Threatened Area) may be republished in part or in full with author attribution and source link.

Image credit: The Free Thought Project.

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