On Monday, this paper ran a front-page story on how eating vegetables could actually be counter-productive to your health. While this was not a zany, new dietary finding it was based on visits to farming spots in Thakurli and Kalwa, where vegetables are grown which are then brought to the city for sale.
Findings revealed that these vegetables were host to algae and faecal matter and the veggies indicated a presence of bacteria and parasites too. The vegetables were grown from water on the side of the railway tracks. The water collected was brownish and showed white suspended particles with an algal smell, pointing to high contamination. The smell of algae is an indicator of stale, stagnant water. Whereas, the water samples from the gutter also gave the presence of human excrement.
What is worse is that the farmers also washed the vegetables in this kind of water as they had little knowledge about hygiene or how dangerous this could be for consumption. Of course, experts when asked did give a few tips about how one could wash and cook them so that they become safe for consumption, but the point is why are green, leafy vegetables being grown and washed in this manner?
There is no quality testing done before these veggies are supplied to the market. At least one food quality or health body is needed to monitor and ensure that these farmers are trained about how to grow these veggies and that clean water is available as a resource.
It is all very well to say that buyers have to ensure that these vegetables are washed repeatedly at home, but lots of these are also used for street food. Are hawkers as careful about washing these? Why can’t they be fairly clean at source itself? Many questions which authorities need to think about and take quick, affirmative action.