Tuesday, August 22, 2006

'Pepsi Is Safer Than Sea Water'

Perhaps, it is. But the provocation for making this statement made by a cynic overheard in a crowded bus was provided by the following news report. It said that at least 50,000 people thronged on 19th August, 2006 to the sea near Mahim Creek in Mumbai - the financial capital of India. They drank the sea water which they found had turned 'miraculously' sweet and collected as many bottles as they could. The report also contained the chart of contamination level of potable water as per World Health Organization (WHO) and of sea water on that fateful day.
Potable water
solids chlorides
WHO norm 0-500 0-250
Tap water 0-40 0-12
Sea water at Mahim
880-1650 600-1360
All figures are in parts per million (ppm).
Despite warning given by doctors and government officials, people drank the 'miracle water' and appear to have escaped serious ailments like gastro-enteritis miraculously. Here is a case of blind faith driving thousands into hysteria.
Pepsi sales promotion ads endorsed by celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan aim exactly to whip up such a frenzy by brainwashing the public. The brand ambassador has blurted out defending Pepsi that even human mother's milk contains pesticides. He fails to note that the comparison is not very apt. A baby has no option but to depend upon mother's milk. In India, water, vegetables and fruits contain dangerous levels of pesticides. Nevertheless, how can one do without these things?
The shocking findings of a study at the Columbia University Centre for Children’s Environmental Health, New York concluded – ‘Babies’ DNA can be damaged even before they are born if their mothers breathe polluted air’. The study results will surely be even more alarming for populations in other industrial and urban areas where pollutants are very high compared to Manhattan – a relatively cleaner area. The Hobson's choice is to wage a war against pollution and contamination relentlessly.
Pepsi is a world famous cola company. Whether it is by negligence or laxity of standards, the pesticide level in its colas in India is reportedly much higher than the permissible limit. So, what should one do? Drink Pepsi just as one consumes the other contaminated products or say a flat big 'NO'? You decide.

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