Faridabad: Inside a stray cow’s stomach, 71kg of plastic, metal | Faridabad News – Times of India


GURUGRAM: A surgery on a cow that was injured in an accident in Faridabad threw up a stark reminder of Indian cities’ continued struggles with plastic waste and littering. Veterinarians who operated on the animal for about four hours on Monday found 71kg of plastic waste and other non-biodegradable substances like needles, coins, pieces of glass, screws and pins in its belly, which were possibly consumed over several months as the cow grazed around the NCR city.
The surgery was successful, but the cow is not out of danger yet. “The next 10 days are going to be very critical,” said Dr Atul Maurya, who was part of the three-member team that performed the surgery on the seven-year-old animal.
The cow was rescued from NIT-5 in Faridabad after it was hit by a car. It was taken to Devashray Animal Hospital, where veterinarians found the animal was kicking its own stomach, an indication that it was in pain. They also diagnosed a problem with the excretory system. After a few tests, an X-ray and an ultrasound, the vets confirmed the presence of harmful substances inside the stomach.
Dr Maurya said it took nearly four hours to clean the four chambers of the animal’s stomach that mostly had polythene. “The digestive system of a ruminant is complex. If a foreign substance stays in it for a long time, it sticks to the stomach. This might lead to air getting accumulated. In that case, an animal might fall or start kicking its belly. Such surgeries have been conducted before. But 71 kg of waste inside the stomach of an animal is alarming,” he said.
The cow’s plight also underlined the gaps that remain in waste collection and segregation in our cities, where open vats and trash dumped on roadsides remain major challenges for administrators. In 2019, when the Centre wrote to states to phase out single-use plastic, it had highlighted that 40% of the nearly 26,000 tonnes of plastic waste that the country generates daily remains uncollected, endangering the environment, stray animals as well as human health.
Animal rights activist Ravi Dubey, who runs NGO People For Animals, said owners usually allow their cattle to graze freely for most parts of the day and the animals often navigate towards garbage bins to find food. “Cows end up consuming toxic substances like vermillion, coins and even nails that might injure the intestines and oesophagus. People should avoid throwing eatables in polythene bags and serious efforts should be made to spread awareness about this,” he said. “We do not have agricultural land or forest land. Then where will these animals go? Civic bodies and other authorities should act immediately to create a safe environment for animals,” Dubey added.
Haryana was among the first states in the country to ban manufacture and use of plastic bags in 2011 and the state government has been emphasising the welfare of cows. in 2001, Haryana had constituted a society for prevention of cruelty towards animals. “Every year, funds are allocated for the welfare of animals but the money is not used properly. Under Section 79 (1) (A) of Haryana Police Act, 2007, police can take action against those who allow their cattle to stay on roads. But action is hardly taken against offenders,” said Naresh Kadyan, another animal rights activist.
Sarvan Kumar Garg, chairman, Haryana Gau Sewa Aayog, said, “We have built 650 gaushalas across the state and more than four lakh animals are staying in those. We also conduct regular drives to pick up animals from roads and take them to gaushalas. While it may not be practically possible to monitor what an animal eats through the day, people can ensure waste is dumped more responsibility. Residents should avoid throwing away food wrapped in plastic.”

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