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'We've endangered next generation'

india Updated: Aug 04, 2006 14:05 IST
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Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi based NGO released it second report on the use of contaminated water by cola giants, Coke and Pepsi in India.

The news generated a flurry of responses with surfers writing in to express their views. Additionally we asked our surfers if CSE's allegations that Coke, Pepsi brands are a cocktail of pesticides would stop them from drinking soft drink.

People wrote back saying that government should make stringent laws, banning them, faulting stars for endorsing them and giving them legitimacy. Here's how the feedback went.

Mukul from New Delhi, India said we are responsible for grievously harming one generation of Indians.

"In the last study by CSE even drinking water had the same contaminants. If this is true, then we have successfully endangered at least one generation of the Indian population! In any case, the study does indicate the carelessness with which these organisations take us and our health for granted."

Bangalore-based Aditya too felt the coming generations would face the ill effects of this trend.

"The consequences of intake of such harmful substances will be visible 10-15 years down the line. By then Pepsi and Coke would have summed up thousands of crores."

He was particularly upset that the so-called responsible persons in society, the stars, didn't think twice before endorsing such drinks despite the universal hazards.

"I am sad that celebrities like Sachin Tendulkar and Amitabh Bachchan still promote such unhealthy substances. If they have any conscience, they should be the first ones to protest against this."

Anil from Pune said, "I strongly feel that we need a strong law for this purpose. The politicians are totally inclined towards cheap politics and don't care the health of the people."

Chetan Jain from Patiala echoes similar views.

"People should come together to join hands in order to save their future generations. Now it's time to change. A revolution is required start it from home. Say no to cold drinks."

Gulshan from Rohtak felt strict action should be taken against these cola companies. "We may even consider a ban in India," he added.

Kuldeep said that world over people were waking up to the dangers of junk food. It's time India did the same.

"Well, world over this reality is dawning very rapidly that junk foods are not healthy. Half of the US is obese and in India the use of these soft drinks growth has been on a steady plane if not going up or down."

Dubai's Asha S and New Delhi's Anisha were okay with the idea of banning these drinks.

"Stop the production and distribution of these products from India and chuck them out of India. So our people will be free of this dirty drink from USA. Just drink fresh water or any other juice," said Asha.

While Anisha thought, "Coke and Pepsi should be completely banned from the country. It is high time the government realises its responsibilities and gets serious towards its citizens. We desperately need a regulatory framework to consider these issues and must be subject to strict actions."

Answering to our question, Mrinal Munshi from Detroit, USA said she was worried about her kids, "I have shunned colas a long time back. But it's the kids who need to be shielded really. But I don't see that happening as long as we have our movie and sports stars as the brand ambassadors for the cola companies. They are bothered more about their pay packages."

She praised shuttler Gopichand from saying no to cola endorsement.

"Hats off to Pullela Gopichand who earns just a fraction of what our cricketers earn but still was conscientious enough not to sign up for any cola company."

However, not all over impressed by CSE's actions. They said contamination is rampant in forms of food consumes by Indians. So, why target just the cola companies.

Here's how they went.

Ganesh of Dehradun in India said, "Why is 'drinking' water never tested in India, as it is within the span of control (and responsibility) of our bureaucrats and politicians? We drink so much more of it than soft drinks, which are mostly out of reach for the average Indian? Why are desi brands of 'mineral' water never tested? And what about milk? Doesn't it smell more of cheap xenophobia than pesticides?"

Gagan from Nagpur in India went the step further.

"What are the findings in milk, water supply at our home, cabbage, mothers' milk, sugar, and beer?"

An anonymous writer from Port of Spain, Trinidad felt the problem wasn't pesticides in colas. It was pesticides in the groundwater.

He said, "Pathetic NGO business (and they are businesses) attempt to get some grant money by riding an anti-MNC platform. Why didn't they test groundwater and bottled water? Or tea from a chai-wallah? Because the same pesticide residues (due to the ignorance of farmers) will be found in them."

Mahendra Patel from Mumbai, India felt it was time we adopted Euro standards.

"When Supreme Court intervened in the Delhi vehicle pollution matter, one good thing that happened was that the Euro standard was adopted and it was named Bharat I.II and now III.

In the same manner the Euro Standard on quality of soft drinks should be made applicable in India. Why should any one have an objection to it? It should be made applicable immediately on all new products and the existing should be given a short time limit."

Pesticides in anything - colas, drinking water or food - needs to be tackled. After all, the stakes are really very high.

All views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the surfers and do not necessarily represent those of HindustanTimes.com.