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first_imgDear Editor,I strongly condemn vendors for selling poison to Guyanese schoolchildren in the form of soft drinks and energy drinks. These should be banned immediately.With this in mind, I commend Government Member of Parliament (MP) John Adams for presenting a motion, on behalf of the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Social Services, that schools should be “discouraged” from selling soft drinks in their canteens. I am going further to say it should be prohibited.But that motion is too soft, because it is not enough to discourage this practice. It must be outlawed completely.In his presentation to the National Assembly as Chairperson of the committee, Adams disclosed that the ministries of Education and Public Health were selling aerated drinks in schools. He said it was his committee’s hope that the Education Ministry would be able to do something to “restrict” canteens from selling such beverages.While I support the committee’s position on this issue, I respectfully disagree with Adams’s choice of the words “hope” and “restrict” while making his presentation in Parliament. I believe the slow poisoning of our children in schools is far too important to be dealt with by merely hoping for a restriction. It is time to get out of dreamland. The Ministry of Education has to ban this evil now.Adams’s committee also recommended to Parliament that schools promote the sale of “healthy, wholesome and nutritious foods” to encourage healthy eating habits, and also that physical education be mandatory in schools. That is good, but our children’s good health depends on how quickly the nation can move on from making recommendations to actually implementing them.In this age of information technology, people literally have at their hand’s reach countless sources of information about the poisonous effects of soft drinks and energy drinks on consumers’ waistlines and teeth. These beverages are packed with sugar and harmful chemicals, and regular consumption causes multiple health problems, like diabetes, heart disease, asthma and obesity, including flare-ups in temper due to the excess in sugar content and other poisons.Many are sold in cans that are coated with the chemical endocrine disruptor Bisphenol A (BPA), which is linked to heart disease, obesity, and reproductive problems. The artificial brown colouring in soft drinks is made using chemicals which, in US Government-conducted studies, caused lung, liver, or thyroid cancers, or leukemia in laboratory mice and rats.The average can of these poisonous beverages has 17 teaspoons of sugar and a huge number of useless calories. Drinking them greatly increases the obesity risk in children, and constantly erodes their dental enamel. Those with artificial sweeteners are worse; artificial sugars are linked to numerous illnesses and diseases, including cancer.Consuming these poisons can cause an addictive adrenaline rush, followed by a sharp downward mood swing, because the intake of harmful chemicals saps the human body of energy. The addictive highs followed by energy-depleting lows caused can take consumers of these beverages on a roller-coaster ride that eats away their mental well-being, especially children. They also reinforce bad eating habits.These beverages are poison, pure and simple. With all the information available today from credible sources about the serious harm these drinks can do to a human body, especially the body and brains of a growing child, it is obvious that Guyana has to ban the sale of these drinks to children in the schools. What more do we need? What is the problem?In my opinion, no one should be permitted to drink these beverages, but just as in the case with alcohol and cigarettes, a multitude of foolish people will insist that they have a right to consume them, although these persons know beyond a shadow of doubt that by doing so they are poisoning themselves. Let the adults poison themselves with them if they want to, but leave our children alone.The House of Assembly should ratify the motion raised by MP Adams and his committee and move to implement the recommendations without undue delay. I commend PPP/C MPs Dr. Vishwa Mahadeo and Alistair Charlie who made contributions on the motion.I urge both sides of the House to ensure that the recommendations of Adams’s committee are implemented swiftly. I also call on them to move on to even stronger action by implementing an outright ban on these poisonous beverages in schools and hospitals.Once again, compliments to MP Adams’s committee for being behind the presentation of this motion in Parliament.Sincerely,Roshan Khan Srlast_img

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