The Coca-Cola Company plans to build 150 kiosks in 20 countries that will offer water, electricity, and internet connections. The announcement was made at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting. Currently there is one kiosk set up in Heidelberg South Africa. It is a shipping container with solar panels for power, a satellite dish for wireless communication, and a water distiller. The setup costs for these kiosks are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Coca-Cola hopes that the volume of these kiosks will lower the price of each and that women will be the ones running the kiosks. The products and services the company will charge for is so far undetermined. Potentially, they could store vaccines and offer health education without cost while asking people to pay for water and cellphone charging.
Soft drink companies, such as Coca-Cola, are often accused of contributing to the obesity epidemic by expanding their line of products to less-developed countries with poor health education or health care. Coke’s executives argue that their kiosks will supply clean water while promoting the business of small entrepreneurs. I think that, even though this is just another way for Coca-Cola to make millions, it is a good project they are starting. Providing clean drinking water to countries and locations that don’t have it available is good. I’m not sure how much the cost of getting fresh water at these kiosks will be but, hopefully, it will be affordable. Including wireless connections at the kiosks will promote more globalization and education as well.
By Donald G. McNeil Jr. 10/01/2013
The New York Times –the Science Times