Vegetable and fruit vendors using chemicals to keep their stock ripe and fresh in storage is no news for Pakistani people. In fact, most of the vendors we see and buy our vegetables and fruit from, use some sort of chemical or related materials to keep them fresh.
Recently, health experts have highlighted that these chemicals are harmful for humans. Calcium carbides and other chemicals are widely used – it is hazardous to our health because it has remote amounts of arsenic and phosphorus. A nutritionist, Dr. Ahsan Akram suggests,
Use of such chemicals are banned in many countries of the world however fruit sellers here are putting lives of people at risk through using these chemicals to increase the life of perishable commodities.
This is not the only industry in Pakistan which adulterates its output, turning it into something poisonous just for the sake of profits. Toxic chemicals are used throughout the country to ripen the fruits or to make them presentable on the shelves – increasing their demand while fooling the buyers.
Vendors also use different kinds of pesticides, fungicides, Sulphur and hormones in their orchards for fruits like bananas and mangoes to increase the output. This results in low quality adulterated yield which is unhealthy.
As suggested by Dr Tasneem Athar, a local hospital physician these chemicals cause several diseases – including cancer, kidney and lung ailments. She added that this is an important issue and authorities have a responsibility to prevent this inhumane activity – a healthy generation needs a healthy diet and we can only get it if the sellers are overseen by authorities vigilantly. A working woman, Samina Chaudry stressed,
Milk, yoghurt and other eatables being sold in the markets are already not pure. If fruits and vegetables too become unsafe for the human consumption, what would we eat?