Junk in our mouths, junk on our streets

THERE has been a rapid increase in the number of fast food outlets here in Britain

New ones are opening up on an almost daily basis and their ubiquitous service is steadily ruining both our health and our local environments. Quite honestly, I think the time has come for us, as a society, to resist further expansion.

Britons seem to have a voracious appetite for these take-away meals and it is not uncommon to witness a queue in these shops from 10.30am right up until midnight.

I heard a food delivery man talking on the radio recently and he stated that 100 vans left his depot each day and each vehicle contained 7,000 chickens (I bet they’re not free range). This is a phenomenal number and reflects the mood for this fast food within sections of the nation.

These foodstuffs may taste good and they may be cheap but the facts of the matter are more and more people are gorging themselves, we’re getting inexorably fatter as a nation, blood pressure is rising, diabetes is on the increase and it is all putting an intolerable weight, if you’ll excuse the pun, on our beloved National Health Service.

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This food is called junk food for a reason and most disquieting of all is the amount of this junk our children are tucking into day by day. You will see queues during the school lunch break, as well as straight after lessons have finished.

Apart from the deleterious effect on our health, there is also the matter of rubbish these places provoke – discarded packaging strewn everywhere, chicken bones and the like clogging up the drains, all attracting pests and vermin.

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One of the most common practices you will see is people sitting in their cars, adjacent to these outlets, throwing uneaten food or empty packets out of the window and then driving off, leaving the local residents with the responsibility to clear up the mess.

What’s more, the hygiene habits in many of these places – grease on the pavements – is pretty disgusting.

When fast food started in the 1970s we had little idea that this type of eating would grow to the extent it has.

So, it is now time to put controls on the ever growing number of these places, to ensure they’re not as cheap and to make customers fully aware of the damage these foods can do to their health.

As far as I am concerned, these meals can be just as damaging as cigarettes

Furthermore, each outlet should be made to honour its duty of care in clearing up the surrounding mess their business has caused.

We cannot afford to sit back and allow this ever increasing problem to blight our health and our neighbourhoods.

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