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13th-Jul-2017       
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Toxic chemicals in food

Bangladesh has a problem: food. Excessive use of chemicals (like DDT and formalin) by farmers has become a matter of major public concern when purchasing fish, fruits, vegetables, milk, etc. According to a survey conducted by the National Food Safety Laboratory, with support from the Food and Agriculture Organization, most vegetables sold in Bangladesh are adulterated. But vegetables aren't all; even chicken and spices are not exempt from the list of poisoned foods! The end result has civilians purchasing and consuming harmful chemicals like lead chromium along with their meals.
Another consequence is faltering nutrition. We've all heard of the proverb "An apple a day keeps the doctor away". Since childhood we've been taught that certain foods are integral for good health. But the failing agriculture system forces people to avoid foods they should eat in fear of the unknown in them. These chemicals also hurt the environment, as they travel beyond farms as runoff, potentially causing further destruction to ecosystems in Bangladesh.
However, non-harmful pesticides and fertilisers, plant hormones and manure have become increasingly available due to a push from the Agriculture Ministry. If orchestrated correctly, methods like vermicomposting and polyhouse farming can be an even more profitable alternative for farmers. Horticulture officers need only to enforce the use of these solutions.
There has been much improvement, as there seems to be more awareness about this issue than ever before. Several mobile courts have tried to combat contamination, but more needs to be done. Everyone demands "a better tomorrow" but we must also stand together in the fight for a healthier tomorrow.
Zubair Khaled Huq
Dhaka

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