Despite the precautions being observed by some in view of the coronavirus, the enthusiasm for celebrating the Holi festival is still there among many. However, as in the past years, the level of adulteration in colours, sweets and other food items being sold in the market should make people think twice before buying such products.
The Society of Pollution and Environmental Conservation Scientists (SPECS) collected 100 samples of various Holi colors from Dhamawala, Paltan Bazaar, Hanuman Chowk, Moti Bazaar, Karnpur, Dakra, Kanwali Road, Patelnagar, Majra, Panditwadi, Premnagar, Sahastradhara Road, Raipur, Jakhan, Rajpur and Krishannagar areas of Dehradun. Accordint to SPECS secretary Brij Mohan Sharma, laboratory tests show that there are a lot of harmful metals in these colours including mercury sulphite in Red colour, copper sulphate in green colour, chromium iodide in purple colour, aluminium bromide in silver colour and lead oxide in black colour.
These colors are toxic and can cause skin cancer, minamata, eye allergy, temporary blindness, bronchial asthma, allergies, renal failure and learning disability. Sharma said that most colours sold in the market are metal oxide or industrial dyes. When washed, these colours can pollute soil and water systems. They enter the rivers and the soil and increase pollution. SPECS also checked the so called natural organic colours available in the market and ascertained that 52 per cent of these colours are adulterated. When it comes to sweets, the items available in the market are also marred by adulteration. SPECS collected 240 samples of food stuff including milk, mava, paneer, milk cake, burfi, Gujia, Batasha, Gulab Jamun, mustard oil and refined oil. Out of 40 samples of Mava, 38 samples were found adulterated with harmful substances. Out of 38 adulterated samples 17 were totally synthetic which contained chemicals like urea, detergent, Arrarot powder and refined oil. Refined flour (Maida) which is used for making gujiyas was also found tobe adulterated.
Apart from the adulterated colours and food items, wastage will also be caused by Holika Dehen. Sharma said that in Dehradun about 500 Holikas are expected to be lit before Holi. It will entail burning of up to 1,250,000 kilogrammes of wood. An average village family uses around four kilogrammes of wood per day to cook food. It means that 3,12,500 families can cook for a day with the wood burnt in a few hours.
Sharma said that for an enjoyable experience on Holi, home cooked food items and actually organic colours made from easily available items used traditionally should be used instead of the products being sold in the market.
Monday, 09 March 2020 | PNS | Dehradun
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