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Posted by Lilly from ? ( on Thursday, August 22, 2002 at 12:54PM :

Nature 418, 810 - 811 (22 August 2002)

Geologists find cola rock stunt hard to swallow

[NEW DELHI] Soft-drink giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi have infuriated Indian geologists by taking their advertising war to the foothills of the Himalayas. Adverts for the two drinks have been painted along the Manali–Rohtang pass in the state of Himachal Pradesh, a geologically important region. The posters have rendered the pass useless for research, say geologists.

"The rock painting is an irresponsible and inexcusable act," says A. K. Sinha, director of the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany in Lucknow. "Rocks in the Rohtang can reveal a lot about tectonic activity in the Himalayas and the presence of minerals. We can't even take our students there now."

Restoring the rocks to their original condition by scraping off the paint is a "virtual impossibility", says Ashok Sahni, a geologist at Punjab University in Chandigarh. Natural erosion will remove the adverts, but this will take 15 to 20 years.

The Indian Supreme Court issued notices to both companies on 14 August asking them to explain why they should not be penalized.

-- Lilly
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