Many tourists visit developing countries on vacations each year. They visit various places, meet different people of varying cultures and eat local foods too. It’s here that they have to be a bit careful. Here I would like to narrate my personal experience that would come handy to those who intend visiting a developing country.
Sometime back I happened to visit such a country in connection with delivering a lecture on Environmental Standard ISO 14001. The locality I visited was home to hundreds of tannery factories which were producing leather jackets and exporting containers after containers to the EU countries, earning a fabulous amount of foreign exchange. These factories were using dangerous chemicals in leather processing whose effluent was being discharged in an open field where various types of vegetables were being grown.
At noon, my host with whom I was staying took me to a vegetable shop to purchase some salad that was to be served during lunch. While he was purchasing the salad, my sixth sense informed me that the spinach displayed in the shop wasn’t giving a normal look. It was dark green in colour and of abnormal size too. Upon inquiry, the owner of the vegetable shop told me that all the vegetable displayed in his shop was grown in the field in front across the road. It was the same field where the entire effluent of the factories was being discharged. I realized that the spinach kept in the shop was laden with heavy metals. Pungent smell was also being felt in the area due to the presence of the effluent. I requested my host to return the salad as it wasn’t fit for human consumption. On our way back, when I explained the whole process of pollution to my friend and the damage it must have inflicted on the people living in the area, he was wonder-struck.
What I further noticed was that the poultry kept by the residents of the locality was consuming contaminated water from the same field. The meat and eggs of this poultry were being consumed by the residents of the area. The buffaloes and goats were taking the same polluted water whose milk and meat was being consumed by the residents of the locality. As a result, the hazardous contaminants were making their way to the stomachs of the people through the intake of milk, meat, eggs and vegetables. It was an unbroken chain of a vicious circle that was giving birth to various types of deadly diseases. Upon further investigation, I was told that there had been a few cases of child birth which involved deformed children.
In keeping with the above experience I would strongly recommend that anybody visiting a developing country should be extremely careful in consuming his food during his stay in such a country.
Azfar A Khan (Mr.),
Tel: +92-51-4470026; Mobile: +92-51-5122864