What the heck are you drinking? – Emeka Nwolisa

What the heck are you drinking? – Emeka Nwolisa


You most likely attended a wedding ceremony, party or some sort of ceremony over the last weekend.


You also probably saw people picking up the empty plastic bottles of water.  Ever wondered what they do with it?

Move on to another scene.


You drive past a dump site and you see neatly-stacked packs of empty plastic bottles.  Have you also wondered what they do with them? Maybe sent to a recycling plant…possibly but there just may be more uses than one.

So, let’s up the ante.


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Picture again a group of well made-up young ladies with generously endowed anteriors and posteriors. Often wearing trousers and with slightly more than the run-of-the-mill make-up  and carrying  bottles of all manners  of drinks.


Bitters, roots and just maybe monkey tail.


Remember the plastic bottles from the party and maybe the dump site?


Ok oh…. You don’t  buy or drink the concoctions marketed by theses ladies. All well and good but then you do zobo, kunu, palmwine, Agboand soyabean milk. Do they come in plastic bottles? Do the retailers have the capacity and capability to produce their own bottles?

Think, think…where do the bottles come from? Party collected or waste dump collected?


I am sure you get the flow of my gist now.  How well are those plastic bottles cleaned before being re-used by the sellers of these drinks. Do they have capacity for industrial level cleaning that would guaranty effectiveness?


Or do they just soak the bottles in hot water with detergent, wash and rinse afterwards ?


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Most likely the last option.  So really, how clean is the bottle in which your choice drink is sold?


Most of the bottles collected from dump sites have most likely being put to more uses than one. Some may have been used to store household chemicals which may have sipped into the plastic. Would just a hot water and detergent wash cleanse it and make it safe?


The obvious answer is no.


The possible attendant effect of the use of improperly cleaned plastic bottles would include Faeroe-oral diseases like cholera, shigellosis and diarrhea from diverse causes.


In addition, chemical contamination of your favorite drink by the chemicals previously stored in the plastic bottle/container.


One appreciates the joy the imbibers of these drinks get, one appreciates how selling these drinks empower families and one is conscious of the number of people this ‘industry’ employs but could the drinks be made safer?


Sure they can and we should insist that they are.


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We would not want to  throw the baby out with the bath water,  hence the sellers will need to make critical adjustments to ensure the drinks they sell is wholesome and healthy.


One way would be to use fresh bottles which can be disposed and recycled. Once our recycling industry grows, the cost of plastic bottles would naturally get cheaper and affordable for  all clases and levels of businesses using them.

But until that happens, each time you seek to buy your favorite local drink, please pause and answer the question…..what the heck are you really drinking?




Lilian Osigwe

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer.

Lilian Osigwe

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