HYDERABAD: Widespread use of plastic covers for wrapping foods in most parts of the city is very hazardous. Doctors say it could even lead to cancer.
"Continues usage of plastics for storing food is one of the primary factors that triggers hormonal imbalance and in later stages may lead to cancer," said Dr S Lall, a nutritionist from the city.
Hygiene of the containers is as important as the food, according to experts. They say hot food packed in plastic bags has adverse effects on health.
"The composition of polythene changes if the temperature is high and the chemicals tend to mix with food. We can't even tolerate the smell of burning plastic, so imagine the damage it can do to the body," said Aldas Janaiah, a scientist from the city.
Doctors also advise residents from using poor quality aluminium foil packs to keep food. Most of the small takeaways (curry points) in the city use plastic sachets to pack food items. Customers have no option but to purchase, as most of them are used to the culture of buying food in plastic. Most of these takeaways can be spotted in areas such as Kukatpally, Kothapet and Ameerpet.
"I stay in a hostel. I don't have enough utensils to pack the food. Even if I had utensils, I would not carry it to the market. It is the responsibility of the eateries to pack the food in a hygienic way," said a student spotted near a curry point in Kothapet.
Activists say the packing techniques should be changed and crackdown by authorities on the manufacturers preparing plastic bags below 50 microns should be carried out.
"We already have a tradition of packing. Apart from plates made of leaves, people should adopt organic packing methods instead of using plastic blatantly. More drives should be held to spread awareness on the ills of using plastic," said Jasveen Jairath an activist working for concerned citizens NGO.