Plastic pieces found in midday meal milk which made 120 UP children ill.. This was in the newspaper on 26th Oct 2015. Don’t Blame Plastic but blame the our careless attitude …my humble request to all fellow green geeks.
The title is self-explanatory but this is not uncommon. In fact I bet my life that if we test all eating joints and road side eateries 90% of the stuff will have plastic in it. Since we believe in doing all the testing after disasters have struck we can never eliminate plastics from contaminating our bodies.
Blaming plastics has been a favourite topic for all environmentalists but plastics don’t walk and fall into our food. It’s put there by us knowingly or unknowingly, purposely or accidently.
An incident during college days opened my eyes. My institute had tea, sweets and other fried items shop in its premises. Guys used to love hot tea, samosa, milk and jalebi for breakfast along with a smoke. I had also eaten there many times. One winter morning along with a friend of mine I went to have some tea. The samosa Wala had just opened his shop and was putting on the cauldron with ancestral oil (left over from several generations) on fire. Due to cold the packets of Vanaspati ghee (hydrogenated vegetable oil) were frozen and he didn’t have have patience to cut open it. He put the whole packet inside the cauldron and by the time I started shouting at him to take it out, only a thin piece of it was left. That was the day my heart was broken and sadly I gave up on samosa and jalebies. Just for the sake of information this institute comes 100 best institutes of the world and in first five in India.
Fast forward 5 years and I moved down to relatively hotter climate of Bangalore thinking that shops here won’t have to melt down the whole packet of frozen ghee. I was mistaken. Went to a very famous rolls shop and ordered veg-rolls. Veg filling had finished so the cook asked his helper to get it from the fridge. Helper took out a thin blue polythene bag filled with cooked veges and placed on top of the hot pan straight away. The bottom of the packet was melted and all the vegetables were out. He didn’t have the time to open and pour the veges so he made us and many others consume polythene. There finished my rolls chapter too
Then came the first group lunch in the topmost institute in Bangalore. Our professor ordered simple khichdi and in the second spoon he got a piece of plastic packet. He shouted at the manager but didn’t follow up or complain. This was in the restaurant inside the institute.
There have been many such incidents in my life including the plastic rice which I have written earlier.
In spite of all this I will say plastic is not harmful. It’s the way we use them is harmful. It pollutes soil and water agreed but we put it there in the first place. Use of plastic utensils is now integral across India. You cannot find buckets, appliances body, switches, refrigerator and many more, made of another material but we have alternatives for fancy plastic microwavable utensils and other food packagings.
Recycling and reusing and switching to alternatives where ever available can easily solve the problem. One another use is the waste to energy solution but our careless attitude has shown that it can be more hazardous than soil and water pollution. Needs a better technology and not cheaper ones.
I would say USE BUT DON’T MISUSE and for that I have started a petition to the industry and commerce minister. Please check and sign the petition.