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The waves

As the Wind Blows

Location: Chennai, Tamilnadu, India

10 August 2003

Pesticides and insecticides found in MNC soft drinks sold in India.

News of the Week.

About the cola controversy – I have a lot to say – both for and against. Sum up: I was very furious at the MNC cola makers. How – dare – they- take- us for a ride… kind of rage. If found guilty, they deserve to be banned. And to think only a few days back “Waves” had discussed at length about insects in cola bottles. Suresh and Mathy had given some alarming inputs on this subject.

At the same vein I also felt why we are making such noise only now – only when CSE comes up with a shocking report? I also want to know if CSE ( centre for Science and Environmet - a NGO based in Delhi) could conduct similar surveys on the quality of all food items sold in so many food courts / restaurants and the wayside trolleys? The level of contamination and unhygienic content in them? The number of flies and mosquitoes on the sweets, show cased in the glass cases of sweet shops? The “gol goppa and pani puri” trolleys making brisk business standing beside a overflowing drainage? – washing the plates several times in soiled water? The unhygienic conditions found in the cooking spots of any wedding or any gathering? The amount of contaminated and poisonous content found in many of the food items sold? The precariously unhygienic conditions at many private and government hospitals – where safety norms are thrown to winds?

If CSE made such a survey and brought out a report, would we have the honesty to react in this same way? But then, we are privilaged as citizens of this country to do as we like. How can we allow outsiders to do this on us? well..?

The bottom line is - business and business alone matters today. No one cares for public health or the general safety norms. But, as I have always said, we need a shock treatment to jolt us out from an inertia now and then. So, according to press reports, we will soon have safety norms for foodstuffs in our country. And the die-hard optimistic in me says that the norms and laws will not be floated by unscrupulous people for their own commercial advantage.

Btw, I went out for a shopping this weekend. Was extremely thirsty. And the soft drink counter was very inviting. For a moment I stopped. And then I walked away. Interestingly I found that the counter was literally empty – no shoppers hanging around, quenching their thirst! Not bad. Long live CSE :-)


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