I read the reports of Indian states banning Pepsi and Coke, with great dismay. Not that I don't support the use of healthy drinks like Coconut drink and properly purified fruit juices (do they exist in Indian??), but I don't think banning Coke and Pepsi has any scientific validity.
To go back in history - in fall 2003, an obsure Delhi-based NGO called CSE (assused as blackmailers or praised as watchdogs, respectively by the two sides of the warring parties) published results stating that Coke and Pepsi had high levels of pesticide content, much more than the European and American levels. Pepsi and Coke sales fell down drastically and it was welcome finding then and forced the companies to adopt better standards and in short a strong voice for the consumer. In 3 years, they did a lot of better their product in recommendation of the findings. But, again this year CSE published one more finding and again they stated that Coke/Pepsi contained 'high' levels of pesticide. The results seem to be pretty scientific and I'm not questioning much on the results. But, people can play with how they present a finding. I'll give you a fictious example:
"In a major car race, America and Russia competed, in the height of the cold war. The race was intense and America won and the Russians lost. But, the Russian newspapers published it as - 'In a major car race, where teams including America and Russia competed, Russia bagged the second place, while America just got the second from the last'"
The fact that the Russian newspapers published was true, but the way in which it was presented was unethical. It seemed as though America lost and Russia won, though the fact is otherwise. Similarly, the CSE finding also includes results where milk and fruits and drinking water contains many times more pesticide content (and hence harmful) than Coke and Pepsi. Should you advice people to stop drinking milk and eating fruits? Then, the outdoor air in India is so polluted and ladden with million type of germs and toxic material like asbestos, lead, zinc and carbon monoxide. So, the next advice would be to stop breathing??
But, Indian governments, in keeping up with their reputation, banned all colas (and not the indiscriminate use of pesticides). Crazy... Thatz what the whole issue is. People don't accept the fact the fact that they allow farmers to indiscrimately use fertilizers and pesticides that pollute the land and the water bodies and the local industries indiscriminately pollute its air and river bodies. And, as always, they scapegoat a major company and use some obscure results to enforce a ban.
Pepsi and Coke are a major boon in a country like India, where you can't trust any natural thing. You can drink water right out of the taps or wells, you can directly eat fruits from vendor or drink those horribly unhygenic cane juices. Fruit juices in most parts use unhygenic parts and/or contaminated water/milk. What do you want me to do? Drink those 1000 times more polluted cane juices and tap water, instead of highly pure Coke, Pepsi (for Indian standards --- European and American standards don't have much meaning in a country where 500 millions stays hungry).
Indians, come on and be realistic. I'm not saying that Coke and Pepsi are healthy drinks or they don't contain pesticide residues. But, you should always choose the lesser of the evil. If you get clean water and coconut drink, make it the first priority. If you have certified fruit juices, make it second priority. But, without that Coke/Pepsi is your first choice. Don't let the anti-American lobbies and biased and vested interested politicians to dictate you on the matters of health.