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‘Made in China’ taking over ‘Made in India’ on Holi products

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image source: www.alamy.com

Lucknow: ‘Made in India’ products of Holi colours, water guns, balloons and other products are losing out to Chinese imports because of at least 55 percent price differential, said a survey-cum-analysis by Assocham.

“Invasion of innovative and fancy Chinese Holi toys and colours despite the government’s efforts to promote ‘Make in India,’ is making the survival difficult for small manufacturers,” said the survey conducted by Social Development Foundation of Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham).

Indian manufacturers were facing losses to the tune of a whopping 75 per cent as only about quarter of their products found buyers, said the survey based on responses of about 250 manufacturers, sellers, suppliers and traders of Holi colours, water guns and other such products across India.

“There is a price differential of over 55 per cent between Chinese Holi colours and sprinklers and those made by local manufacturers,” said D.S. Rawat, secretary general of Assocham, while releasing the findings of the survey on Tuesday.

Majority of the respondents said that traditional ‘pichkari’ (water gun or sprinkler) has almost disappeared from the markets due to minimal consumer interest.

Despite being made from toxic products, ‘Made in China’ Holi toys and colours are favoured by customers as they are much cheaper than locally made products, said the respondents.

Many of the respondents rued the rampant use of acids, alkalis, diesel, engine oil, glass powder, mica and other substances that damage the skin, together with cheap quality of plastic being used to manufacture low-cost water guns.

Most of the local manufacturers said they only sell ‘herbal’ colours that don’t damage the skin.

Some blamed the rise in price of raw materials like water-soluble plant pigments for slack in their business.

According to a rough estimate by Assocham, over 5,000 colour manufacturing units produce over five lakh kilograms of ‘gulal’ (as dry colour traditional used in the festival is known) to be used on Holi across India.

Over two lakh kg of gulal is consumed across Uttar Pradesh alone. The state of Uttar Pradesh is home to ‘Braj mandal,’ the region associated with Lord Krishna, where Holi is celebrated with special fervour and attracts people from India and abroad. (IANS) 

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Garbologists find roots of modern waste by digging through Victorian-Era garbage

In the Victorian Era, the civilization made a permanent shift towards a throwaway society, and the production of waste only began to increase from this point in the timeline

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Victorian era Mineral bottles. Image source: Tom Licence
  • Garbology is the “study of a culture or community by analysis of its waste”
  • The Museum of Brands in Notting Hill, West London boasts a collection of 12,000 unique items like cartons, boxes, paper cups tins etc
  • The Victorian era also marked the rise of the packaging industry

East Anglia, a rural area north of London, became a place of historical interest for Tom Licence and his research team, What East Anglia Threw Away, early 2016, when a scavenging streak for Victorian Era trash gripped their minds. “We’re aware that there’s a dump close to the cottage, and that’s part of our interest, but also we’ve set up a little history group, and we’ve been working on the history of Castle Rising ever since”, says Sylvia Cooke, who came to East Anglia about 14 years ago.

“We are pioneering garbologists”, says Tom Licence with a friendly laugh. Garbology is the “study of a culture or community by analysis of its waste”. The Victorian Era, which spanned through the years of 1837 till 1901, witnessed a crucial shift of consumer patterns – with an increase in wealth and the Industrial Revolution, the civilization shifted from making things at home to buying them at grocery markets and shops. This era also marked the rise of the packaging industry.

As people began to gain awareness about germs and hygiene, they became distrustful of local vendors and grocers,some of whom added spurious ingredients to increase the weight of the product. A packaged product guaranteed it hadn’t been tampered with, and hence more trustworthy. Moreover, it also ensured that the manufacturers were able to design and control their own brand. The means of packaging then involved bottles and tins, or small containers which couldn’t be reused and hence found their way into what is now called as Victorian Era trash.

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The importance of collecting and preserving garbage from those olden days was cleverly identified by Robert Opie, a social historian, who founded the Museum of Brands in Notting Hill, West London. The museum boasts a collection of 12,000 unique items like cartons, boxes, paper cups tins etc. which documents the progression of brands of some of the world’s most popular companies like Cadbury. The museum assumed a larger space recently to accommodate the growing interest. The colour on these packaging materials dim as war years are approached, The Guardian reports. “It’s a portal into your own past”, Robert Opie says.

Victorian Era
Dundee Marmalade tin containers. Image courtesy: Tom Licence

In the Victorian Era, the civilization made a permanent shift towards a throwaway society, and the production of waste only began to increase from this point in the timeline. Before this time, humans produced next to no waste at all. In large cities like London, there was a systematic disposal of waste, but in the rural areas like East Anglia, it wasn’t economical to supply ash carts to every household, so the people here would dig up pits in nearby areas and bury their waste there. This is one of the primary reasons why Tom Licence and his local volunteers targeted East Anglia.

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Tom Licence also has knowledge of similar findings all over the world. There have been people from California and India who show an interest in Garbology. A worker digging up the Earth for the construction of the Olympic Stadium in Brazil found packaging products that originated all the way from England. Licence believes this was the time when trade flourished, and the human carbon footprint made its stamp on the face of the Earth for the first time in history.

Discoveries made by garbologists in England have helped them analyse the living patterns of the civilizations in the British subcontinent, dating all the way back to the Victorian Era. If similar expeditions were to be carried out in all places over the world, it would help us comprehend a much better understanding of how humans led their lives in respective countries, and that would indeed be interesting to the historian palette.

-by Saurabh Bodas, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter:@saurabhbodas96

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