Do away with betel nut

Letters

IF you are reading this article pause for a second and look around you. What do you see?
Betel nut mess.
The dirt reflects the chewers’ attitude.
In the nation’s capital, Port Moresby is the worst scenario.
Betel nut chewing was a social event only practiced by the elderly from the coastal region as betel-nut producing palm is only found in the lowland coast.
Today people of all ages from all over Papua New Guinea chew betel nut. For what reason depends on the chewers. However, there are many bad results from the nut chewing. Let me list them. Creates ugly sights from the bristles, chewers become addicted, addicts spends a lot of money on the nut, the nuts do not have any nutritional values, sellers risks their lives to look for the highly- demanded commodity, contract tuberculosis (TB) and mouth cancer from sharing the lime. These are some of the negative perspectives from chewing the favourite nuts. Can anyone tell me the good results of chewing betel-nut? For these reasons I am appealing to the Government of today to totally ban the nut. The Government is defined as by the people, for the people. It has the power to legislate and enforce law, therefore, if people’s lives are at risk then the Government has to ban the nut.
Though betel nut sales create income for the growers and contribute to the economy, it is a lazy way of making money too. It is totally appalling to read and see in the media about local and national leaders supporting the growing and selling of the nuts. Every year the government is dishing out millions of kind through its DSIP and PSIP grants.
Can the concern leaders create tangible, economical and sustainable projects for their people?
Let me mention some of these projects. Fish farming, cattle and sheep rearing, rice farming, fruits and vegetable farms to supply the ever-increasing population in our urban areas and many more.
What if a disease strikes the nut-bearing palm? How will the people sustain their living? Let’s teach the people to sustain their living through other ways instead of betel nut so that we can save thousands of people from chewing related problems.

Joseph Koggy
NCD

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