For a country that has invested so much in regulating plastic bags, India is outrageously slow in acting on information about toxic plastic products.
The recent Centre for Science and Environment study linking phthalates in plastic toys is a reminder of how toxic a child’s world really is.
It showed that over 45% of the plastic toys available in India have more phthalates—a notorious reproductive poison — than are permissible by international standards.
In the 1990s, Greenpeace ranked Indian toys as some of the most toxic in the world, based on phthalate content.
There has been a furore over phthalates from other sources as well, although this did not reach India.
Another phthalate, Bisphenol A, (BPA), was found in hard, clear plastics, such as those used to feed and store food for babies across North America in 2008. Canada, already tracking chemicals like BPA, reacted with alacrity to this information last year. It has begun to propose regulations that will stop the sale of baby feeding bottles with BPA.
It is time India begins to look beyond visual pollution, beyond plastic bags manufactured and recycled by small entrepreneurs, and tackle the big toxins in all plastic products. Otherwise, our children will be denied their right to a safe life.
If you live in a part of the city, where you see a lot of parrots, know that it is not that commonplace. These birds tend to live only in specific green areas, flying out during the day, to find food as much as 20 kilometres away, on farms, orchards and other food-rich sites rare in crowded concrete jungles.
On foggy days they are sometimes unable to leave their home. That’s when you hear them noisily chirping till much later than late dawn, the time when they usually fly off.
If you do hear delayed parrots, therefore, offering them a little food would not be out of order. Otherwise this may be an involuntary low-calorie day for these birds.