New Delhi: Next time you head out for a quick snack break to gorge on some crispy samosas and hot piping chai, beware if the street vendors hand it over to you in a “plate” made with old newspapers or in poor quality plastic. According to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) new regulations for the informal food businesses, the use of recycled plastics or old newspaper including carry-bags, for packaging, storing, carrying will now just be the thing of the past. The step has been taken keeping in mind the carcinogenic effect of inks, dyes and plastic items in A bid to improve food safety standards in the country.
Talking about this move, Pawan Agarwal, the CEO of FSSAI said,
Our primary objective from this initiative is to protect the food contents from microbiological, chemical, physical and atmospheric contamination and preserve the food and thereby protect consumer’s health. Moreover, we want to do our bit to get rid of plastic pollution that we often have seen by the roadside.
Mr Agarwal also said that there would be “difficulties” in the implementation of these regulations by the unorganised sector because of financial issues but today there are companies in the market that are providing cost-effective yet eco-friendly alternatives.
NDTV spoke with a tea-stall owner name Rajendra Prasad in South Delhi’s Greater Kailash to understand his point of view, he said,
I have been selling samosa in a paper plate, which I usually make on my own as it is cost effective, I have been selling it a mere cost of Rs 3 from years now and get a profit of Rs 1.50. If the authorities are expecting me to switch to higher quality products which are more environment and health-friendly then first they have to provide me with an alternative which is in my price range, I don’t think currently there are many options in that much amount.
Another shopkeeper said, “There was a ban in New Delhi last year on the use of disposable plastics cups as well, but have you seen a difference? No, right? Till the time there are no cheaper alternatives available in the market, at least local vendors will not comply with the rules.”
As per FSSAI, the deadline for food businesses and vendors to comply with the new regulations has been set for July 1, 2019.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.