Matters concerned with Environment

Thursday, April 29, 2010

SBI lights up clean technology initiative with wind farm launch

SBI lights up clean technology initiative with wind farm launch
Financial Express
These generators were earlier installed across Gujarat, Maharashtra and
Tamil Nadu ... thermal power and not on purely economic and business
considerations. ...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Non-veg sweets - Story of edible Silver foils or varakh

Indian Sweets with Silver Foil are non-vegetarian

In India, by law, every food item has to have a green dot on it, if it is vegetarian - and a maroon  dot, if it is non-vegetarian. If a manufacturer is found to be cheating by mislabelling his product, the sentence is many years in jail.

So, how have the mithai (sweets) people not been arrested so far?
Milk has been treated as vegetarian but the silver foil or 'varakh' on each mithai cannot by any  stretch of imagination be considered vegetarian.' Beauty Without Cruelty', a Pune-based NGO that investigates into product ingredients, has produced a booklet on the varakh  industry.  Here is their report on how it is made.
The varakh-makers select animals at the slaughterhouse. Each animal is felt or the softness of its skin before it is killed. This means that a substantial number of goat, sheep and cattle are killed specifically for the industry. Their skins are soaked in filthy, infested vats for 12 days to dehair them.  Then, workers peel away the epidermal layer, which they call jhilli, just under the top layer of the skin in a single piece. These layers are soaked for 30 minutes in another decoction to soften them and left to dry on wooden boards.Once these are dry, the workers cut out square pieces 19 cm by 15 cm. These pieces are made into pouches called auzaar and stacked into booklets. Each booklet has a cover of thick lamb suede called khol. Thin strips of silver called alagaa are placed inside the pouches. Workers now hit the booklet with wooden mallets for three hours to beat the silver inside into the ultra-thin varakh of a  thickness less than one micron called '999'. This varakh is then sent to sweet shops.
Here are the statistics that you should know. An animal's skin can make 20-25 pieces/pouches only. Each booklet has 360 pouches.  One booklet is used to make 30,000 varakh pieces - less than the daily supply of a single big mithai shop.About 12,500 animals are killed for one kg of varakh. Every year, 30,000 kg of varakh (30 tonnes) are eaten on mithai.  2.5 crore booklets are made by varakh companies that keep their slaughterhouse connection secret. But the truth is that not only is this industry killing animals furiously, much of the animal tissue that the booklet is made of remains in  the varakh.
Each Jain knows in his heart that varakh is non-vegetarian. But they still use these dreadful items of mass destruction to decorate the idols of Jain tirthankars. How amazing that the idols of those that preached and practised strict non-violence to all creatures should now be covered with slaughterhouse derived silver foils. Jains are the biggest buyers of the varakh industry. Many try to bluff themselves by saying that the varakh is machine-made.
'Beauty Without Cruelty' has done a thorough investigation and found that there is not a single machine-made varakh piece in this country (or even the world).On the web, there is one letter from a person, Jalandhra, claiming that he has a company which has  "fully automatic machines manufactured with German collaboration to beat silver pieces in between a special  Indian manufactured paper in a hygienic and controlled atmosphere run round the clock by qualified Engineers and experienced R&D team".  Initially, we were importing the special paper from Germany.
But when I followed this up, no factory of the given name, or even address, was not  found.The production of varakh is done mainly in north India: Patna, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur and Gaya (which is a Buddhist holy centre) in Bihar; Kanpur, Meerut and Varanasi (the holy city of Hindus) in Uttar Pradesh; and Jaipur, Indore, Ahmedabad and Mumbai. The booklets come to them from the slaughterhouses of Delhi, Lucknow, Agra and Ratlam.
Not only is varakh non-vegetarian, it is also very bad for your body - whether you are vegetarian or not. The silver cannot be digested; therefore, there are no benefits from its consumption . A study done in November 2005 by the Industrial Toxicology Research Centre in Lucknow on varakh says that the silver foil available in the market has toxic and carcinogenic metals in the thin silver foil, nickel, lead, chromium and cadmium.Over half of the analysed silver foils had lower silver purity than the 99.9 per cent purity stipulated by the prevention of food adulteration act of India.  When such foil enters into the body, it releases heavy metals that can lead to cancer. T
he report also details the unhygienic conditions in which workers put silver in small leather bags and beat it into foil in filthy shops.
In fact most of those Silver foils nowadays are made of Aluminium instead, and toxic, posing serious health hazards

Read the full article at the following link  


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Ecologist, Environmental Scientist...