ISLAMABAD: Vendors and stall owners at the railway stations and bus terminals in different cities of the country including Peshawar city are posing serious health hazards to the public and stale food in the absence of required checks by the Health Department.
Bus-stands are ideal places for openly selling unhygienic foods, a report aired by a private news channel said.
According to the report, it has also been observed that vendors selling food items, including samosas, pakoras, tea and other common food items prepare them at smelly open places, whereas no sanitary arrangement or measures are adopted while preparing these items.
Health experts say that substandard food may cause diseases like typhoid, hepatitis, diarrhoea and different kinds of infections among citizens.
A citizen Ahmad Shifaqat said that there should be a constant check on the sale of unhygienic food items.
Zaib Mukhtar, another citizen, said that officials should come out to keep a check on unhygienic food items openly sold in every nook and corner of the cities.
A commuter, Zainab Qayyum, said: “I have to travel Islamabad every day for work. I frequently use the bus and train service. I have asked the vendors a number of times to cover the food items, but in vain.”
A vendor who did not wish to disclose his name said: “The oil used for frying food items is stale most of the times. Besides, due to inadequate water supply, the owners of the food stalls often use contaminated water for making tea and other food items.”
Dr Irslan Mehmood claims the number of infectious diseases increases by around 50 to 60 per cent due to the sale of unhygienic ally-prepared foods and drinks. And he says there should be an immediate ban on sale of unhygienic foodstuffs, especially in bus stops and in hospitals.
“Use of different artificial colors in edibles caused cancer and different diseases related to intestine, stomach and throat,” he said.
A commuter said: “Hotel and stall holders are required to keep the kitchen, pots and utensils clean but most outlets are not following the directions.”
A group of female passengers said that when they complain to the vendors about the unhygienic food, rather than replacing it, they end up arguing with them.
A local in Islamabad city said, the roads are wrecked, dirt is everywhere, but vendors are not much vexed about it, they are more concerned with selling their foods and earning profit rather providing people with hygienic and quality food.
The vendors are more focused on their business rather than the public health, the citizens added. According to the health administration, they will soon launch a special awareness campaign for the citizens to discourage the selling unhygienic food items on bus terminals.
Citizens demanded authority concerned to take strict action against vendors of unhygienic foods.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 13th, 2019.