August 10th, 2006
Hi!! day-before-yesterday, City Express, a daily supplement for The New Indian Express carried an article on whether colas should be banned due to their high pesticide content. It also asked the readers to send their responses to firstname.lastname@example.org. I sent mine too. Here it is,
Banning colas won’t have such a widespread effect because of the levels of penetration they have had in the society. Go to party, any small gathering, pizza corner or pizza hut, you are bound to find many 2 litre bottles bottles of coke, fanta and similar fizzy drinks. Pizza Corner always has 1 offer or another round the year. Avail that offer and you get a bottomless glass of coke free. What’s more, while they serve the pizzas, they ask whether we want coke or water.
This type of penetration can be broken only by constant awareness programmes. Let pizza corner offer coke, but then let them hang medium sized awareness boards inside, which illustrates the ill effects of coke. As a first level, most of the habits of youth are formed during the schooling or college period. Therefore, the colleges and schools should refrain from using colas and serve fresh juices instead. For example, my college has a small canteen and they never sell any kind of bottled drinks, not even Slice. They sell only fruit juices and that too fresh fruit juices at very affordable rates. Seeing this for the last 4 years has made me look at the good effects of fresh juices rather than bottled drinks.
Charity and everything else beings at home. Therefore, at the second level, parents and relatives should never encourage children to drink coke, instead buy them tender coconuts or fresh fruit drinks. Home is the place where the parents can impose bans on cola and induce fruit drinks. This issue is similar to the crackers during deepavali time. Just by imposing a ban on not bursting crackers before 6am, not a single soul stopped doing so. When small children are told about the ill effects of crackers, they stop bursting them and think of more useful ways to spend time and money. The same should happen with coke also.
We cannot change anything immediately by imposing a ban. Good people will continue to be good and bad people will continue to find new ways of getting the banned thing in. It is only by constant awareness can coke be banished from the society. Only time will tell how long it will take. Till then we must show our perseverance on the awareness programmes.
It got published yesterday :), on page 4 of City Express under the title, “Ban won’t help, let’s create an awareness”.