Monday, August 21, 2006

Storm in a bottle: The big picture missing!

The recent controversy surrounding an unacceptable level of pesticides in Pepsi and Coca-Cola is grossly misdirected in the general media. By merely focusing on banning the drinks an important opportunity to deliberate on this issue is lost.

It is necessary that MNCs must adhere to a standard especially when the product in question is consumed by a mass populace and they must be held accountable. But the core issue here should be how these findings reflect on the state of our water resources and environmental conditions.

The indiscriminate use of chemical and hazardous pesticides leads to them being leeched into our underground water reserves, soil and the atmosphere. It is not surprising at all that toxins are found in such high amounts in cola drinks which contain about 90% water. Such studies if conducted over a wide spectrum of organic food items and agricultural produce would, without a doubt, generate similar results. A proposed healthier option of milk in schools should also be subjected to equivalent checks but the results may just be damaging to the very fabric of our existence.

The fact that food articles elementary for our daily sustenance are polluted to an objectionable rate is alarming. The wider implication of such a possibility on the general health of people and also in the context of global trade is a matter of concern. India’s credibility in the world market may come under a scanner and jeopardize trade relations or even worse may attract embargoes on import from the country. It is imperative that the government formulate a comprehensive policy to contain pollution and avert such a crisis, even if it may not be an immediate threat. This can be achieved by introducing stringent environmental laws, agricultural policies and ensuring their implementation. Also, people must be educated and encouraged to actively participate in conserving the environment for a long-term holistic solution.

An alternative course of action must be considered which would help in curtailing the use of harmful pesticides in agriculture. Bio-fertilizers, vermiculture, sporadic growth of crops with varied nutritional requirements can be supplemented along with the conventional fertilizers.

Genetically engineered plants with inherent resistance to common pests and diseases can be a resourceful means by which chemical usage can be curbed. This requires government support in terms of initiative, financial aid and devising new policies to pave the way for research in this field. India already has a comprehensive policy on biotechnology and its application in agriculture and regulation but it is still in its nascent stage. Liberalising this sector can provide viable solutions to the widely observed environmental degeneration that is prevalent today. A proper understanding of the technology and its implementation in a prescribed regulated method is of importance while considering this option.

We must cease to take the earth for granted lest it returns the gesture, as it already has begun, for us to be consumed by our perennial struggle to exist.

1 comment:

ivan said...

for all u jackassses that read this POST by vinny n dint understand shit heres wat it says not only pepsi every thing u have as food or drink is in some or the other way adultrated. so get ur minds out of the fizz n by the way even if pepsi dint have pesticides in it, it still wudnt b very safe to drink FOR INFO SEE LINK BETWEEN OSTEOPOROSiS N CARBONATED DRINKS...... HAPPY BRITTLE BONES U FREAKIN PEPSI ADDICTS...