Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Toxic culture leads to destruction of ecosystem: Vandana Shiva

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Noted environmental and social activist Vandana Shiva today called for a nationwide ban on the pesticide endosulfan, which has caused serious health hazards in Kerala .

"Fortunately, we have a ban on the pesticide in Kerala. But there should be a nationwide ban on endosulfan," she said, inaugurating the first Biodiversity Congress here.

Shiva said a "toxic culture" was leading to "total destruction" of the ecosystem in the country. In Punjab, the number of cancer patients was going up with the increase in the use of pesticides in farms, she said.

"Biodiversity is not just about some plants. It is about the very web of life and about how ecosystems work. Biodiversity is the very foundation of an economy that is perennial," she said.

Warning that the rise of monopolies in the field poses a threat to bioversity, she said just like cotton has become a symbol of slavery with the arrival of BT cotton, monopolies had now started out in the banana and rice sectors.

"The developed countries are designing what they call green economy which is essentially a bio-mass economy and are putting it as a model. Countries like India should articulate with vigour our own biodiversity to protect our ecosystem and knowledge system," she said.

Shiva said economy, democracy and cultural diversity of a country was dependent on biodiversity. Since the introduction of liberalisation in the nineties, 2,50,000 farmers had committed suicide in the country, she said.

Farmers are being forced to buy genetically-engineered seeds and pesticides, Shiva said, adding, "The combination means indebtedness, which leads to suicide. It is the result of a twisted way of thinking about both nature and economy." 
 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ban Endosulfan and Paraquat now! Asia/Pacific agriculture and plantation unions join environmental groups in call to halt production

Agriculture and plantation trade unions in Asia/Pacific have joined with non-government organisations Pesticide Action Network Asia-Pacific (PAN AP) and Thanal, in calling for the banning of the toxic chemical Endosulfan. Endosulfan is linked to endocrine disruption and reproductive defects and has no antidote.

The decision was reached at the IUF Asia/Pacific regional meeting on health and safety for workers in agriculture and plantations held in Trivandrum, Kerala, India on 14-15 December 2010. The Government of India remains the only country in the world opposed to the inclusion of Endosulfan in the Stockholm Convention, which would lead to a ban.  In reaching the decision in India, unions from India and unions from other Asia/Pacific countries have issued a call to the government to ensure the basic human right to a safe workplace is ensured through the banning of this harmful chemical.

Unions at the meeting heard reports from Thanal (an environmental NGO from Kerala at the forefront of campaigns for justice of victims of Endosulfan poisoning) and PAN AP on the effects of pesticides and chemicals on agriculture workers.  Discussion also involved trade union strategies for incorporating health and safety into organising and trade union strengthening.  Unions also endorsed the global campaign for the banning of Paraquat.

“The continued used of highly hazardous chemicals, like Endosulfan and Paraquat, in agriculture and plantations occurs because workers are denied fundamental rights,” noted Ma Wei Pin, IUF Asia/Pacific regional secretary. “Agriculture and plantation workers are denied the right to know the risks they are facing and the right to negotiate regarding the use of these chemicals.”

“In the wake of global efforts to change practices to sustainable agriculture and better ecological farming, it is high time agriculture is made as safe as possible for farming and working communities. Nations need to change with the times, and commit to a phase out of Endosulfan and Paraquat and other highly hazardous pesticides” said Sarojini Rengam, Executive Director, PAN AP.

Kristina Olssen, international secretary of the IUF affiliate Kommunal who attended the meeting as a guest noted, “Our union was active in the successful banning of Endosulfan in Sweden in 1995 and our union welcomed the subsequent European Union ban.  Our union was clear on the negative and harmful effects of Endosulfan and believes all workers throughout the world should be able to work in an environment free of this toxic chemical.”

C Jayakumar noted, “We look forward to working with trade unions globally through the IUF in making the world toxic free.”

A joint press release from IUF Asia/Pacific, Thanal and PAN AP is available here.

Participants to the IUF Asia/Pacific regional meeting of agriculture and plantation unions, Trivandrum 14-15 December 2010.

Call for global ban on Endosulfan

Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Asia-Pacific regional meeting of the International Union of Food workers (IUF) demanded a global ban on Endosulfan — an insecticide used in plantations — on Thursday.
Representatives of agricultural trade unions and plantation workers attending the two-day meeting here urged India to support the inclusion of Endosulfan in the Stockholm convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. The unions called for a global ban also on Paraquat — a toxic chemical with no antidote — the use of which has been associated with Parkinson's disease.

Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Regional Secretary of the IUF-Asia/Pacific Ma Wei Pin said India was the only country to adopt an anti-worker position by opposing the inclusion of Endosulfan at international conventions. India should recognise its role as global steward, being the country with one of the largest populations of agriculture and plantation workers.

The regional secretary said employers had a responsibility to clean up the pollution they had caused, while governments regulate the process. C. Jayakumar of Thanal said this meant that the Plantation Corporation of Kerala Ltd. (PCK) had a responsibility to institute an environmental clean up in Kasaragod district.

Jasper Gross, research officer, IUF, Asia/Pacific, told the media that pesticides and chemicals fundamentally had a negative and harmful effect on workers. So, the issue was of the right of workers for a safe working environment. It had been clearly shown that Endosulfan had negative effects, he said. Dr. Gross said now a quarter of their incomes went towards health care. If pesticides were eliminated, it would, in effect, improve their earnings.

Sarojeni Rengam, executive director of Pesticide Action Network, Asia/Pacific, said governments and plantation employers were being unduly influenced by pesticide manufacturers to persist with the totally unnecessary practice of using hazardous chemicals.

Christina Olsson from Sweden said her union of Swedish Municipal Workers, Kommunal, played an active role in the banning of Endosulfan in Sweden in 1995. The core theme of the meeting was Health and Safety of Agriculture and Plantation Workers, with special focus on Endosulfan, Paraquat and other hazardous pesticides.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Congress in Kerala demands nationwide ban on endosulfan


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Congress in Kerala today demanded a nationwide ban on endosulfan, in view of the serious health problems caused to the residents in Kasargode district, due to aerial spraying of the pesticide in state-owned plantations 20 years back.

The Agriculture Ministry's stand on the issue came in for sharp criticism at the executive meeting of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) held here today. Briefing reporters on the state unit's stand, KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala told reporters the meeting resolved to urge the Centre to impose a country-wide ban on the pesticide.

It also wanted India to mobilise the opinion of the international community against the pesticide at the next Stockholm Convention on non-organic pesticides. Meanwhile, state leaders of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) today said they had obtained an assurance from Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar that agriculture scientist C D Mayee would be removed from the panel set up to study the endosulfan issue.

After meeting Pawar in New Delhi, NCP state president A C Shanmughadas told reporters that the Minister had promised formation of a new panel, headed by a health expert. Appointment of Mayee had sparked strong criticism in Kerala, with politicians cutting across party lines alleging that an earlier panel on which he was a member had given clean chit to endosulfan.

Pro-Congress lawyers' forum, Indian Lawyers Congress had last week urged the Centre to remove Mayee from the panel. Aerial spraying of endosulfan in cashew estates of the Plantation Corporation of Kerala had allegedly caused serious health problems to scores of people in parts of Kasargode district.

Taking a serious view of their plight, the LDF Government in Kerala has announced a relief package for the victims. All political parties and several NGOs and charity organisations like Amritha Mutt have come out openly against endosulfan.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Indian officials push Dow to pay $1.1bn to Bhopal victims

 
On Dec. 6, three days after the anniversary of the 1984 Bhopal pesticide plant explosion, India’s Attorney General asked the country’s supreme court to force Dow Chemical to pay $1.1 billion in compensation to victims, reports the Wall Street Journal. The move follows on persistent advocacy and recent trials in India
and around the world to hold Dow accountable for the liabilities of Union Carbide, acquired by Dow in 2001. The tragedy is now estimated to have caused 20,000 deaths and some 500,000 injuries.

Dow maintains that the two companies are separate, and that it has no responsibility for the toxic legacy of Bhopal. U.S. State Dept. spokesperson P. J. Crowley has stated that Bhopal is a closed case. In response, the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal has been calling on President Obama to intervene “to publicly recognize the ongoing nature of this disaster, and to demand that Dow Chemical [and] Union Carbide Corporation ... respect the jurisdiction of Indian courts and allow the law to take its course.” Satanath Sarangi, head of Sambhavna Clinic serving Bhopal survivors, declared: "The US government had taken stern action against British Petroleum in the oil spill case in which only 11 people were killed but they never acknowledged the worst industrial disaster caused by an American company."

Since 1998, December 3 has been marked by Pesticide Action Network groups around the world as a “Day of No Pesticide Use,” in honor of the Bhopal victims. This year, PAN Asia Pacific decided to extend the campaign as “No Pesticides Use Week,” culminating on December 10, World Human Rights Day, highlighting “the continuing inability of the concerned governments in bringing the perpetrators of the crime to justice”. PAN groups in the Philippines and eight other countries are participating, united in focusing specifically on the impact on women of highly hazardous pesticides, and promoting sustainable and organic agriculture in place of pesticide use.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Kasargod: Anti-endosulfan Agitation Gains Momentum – Corporation MD Suspended

Daijiworld Media Network – Kasargod (SP)
Kasargod, Dec 11: In an affidavit filed in Kerala High Court, Kerala Horticultural Products Development Corporation, stated that it does not have the responsibility of paying compensation to the people suffering from side effects of endosulfan use. Endosulfan is a controversial insecticide and acaricide, blatant use of which in areas inhabited by humans, is said to have caused miseries in them including disproportionate growth of body parts, paralysis, death, debility, birth of babies with deformities, tuberculosis etc.

The said insecticide was in use mostly in cashew plantations, where it was sprinkled through helicopters in the past. There have been long-drawn protests for banning endosulfan use, and for the payment of compensation to the families of deceased and the suffering in this connection.

The corporation said that use of endosulfan, which is a registered insecticide under section 9 of Insecticide Act, cannot have any side effects. In the affidavit, managing director of the corporation, N K Manoj, said that the corporation had not violated any provisions of the concerned acts, in using the said drug. He further asserted that the drug, which was used by the corporation till the year 2000, was a good insecticide, and that every care was taken by the corporation before deciding to sprinkle it on the cashew plantations.

The fact that successive delegations deputed by the union government for examining side effects of endosulfan use have given green signal for its use, has angered the families of sufferers and the general public alike. Protesting against the above statemenent, BJP Kasargod district committee, laid siege to the Perla divisional office of the said corporation on Friday. When the policemen stopped the protestors numbering around 100, some of them pelted stones at the office. Two policemen were injured in stone pelting incident, and a BJP activist, Satish Kumble, was seriously injured in caning by the policemen.

The district unit of Democratic Youth Federation of India too protested against the statement of Manoj, by leading a procession to the office of the corporation in Bovikkana. When the policemen stopped them at the gate, tension gripped the area for some time.

In the meanwhile, Kerala minister for agriculture, Mullakkara Ratnakaran, said that N K Manoj has been suspended for filing pro-endosulfan statement in the High Court. Speaking to reporters, he said that the official had not consulted the board before filing the statement. He promised to file an ammended statement in this connection, in the High Court. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Environmentalists launch 'no pesticide use' campaign

KIDAPAWAN CITY -- The Citizens Alliance Unified for Sectoral Empowerment in Davao del Sur (Cause-DS), an environment group, launched on Friday a weeklong campaign dubbed as "No Pesticide Use Week" (NPUW) in Digos City. This year's campaign, according to the group's secretary-general, Bernard Vinan, is focused on saving women and children from highly hazardous pesticides. 

In Davao del Sur, Vinan said, highly toxic pesticides are continuously being used in banana plantations, mango orchards and rice fields.The Cause-DS has linked with the Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (Panap) in the campaign with the theme "Women and the Highly Hazardous Pesticides."The campaign is ongoing not only in Southern Mindanao but also in at least nine countries in Asia-Pacific, Vinan said. 

For one, the Panap has 12 partner organizations based in countries in Asia-Pacific.The campaign started on December 3 with the commemoration of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy in India, where thousands of victims continue to seek medical treatment. 

For 26 years, the culprits responsible for the crime are yet to be punished, victims have not been awarded just compensation, and scores of gas victims continue to die due to lack of proper medical treatment, reports said.
Vinan said this year's "No Pesticides Use Week" campaign calls for international actions towards the elimination of highly hazardous pesticides and their impacts on women.

Dr. Romeo Quijano, Panap-Philippines president and medical toxicologist, said that highly hazardous pesticides have high potentials of causing illness, injury, and death to humans and animals, as well as damaging the environment. The "No Pesticides Use Week" is held in Digos City as the Organic Day is also celebrated in other parts of Southern Mindanao. 

Both campaigns hope to raise public awareness of the harmful effects of pesticides. One of the publications of Panap, a book published by Dr. Meriel Watt on pesticides and breast cancer, will be used as campaign material.The campaign, according to Vinan, is already yielding good results. 

Recently, the legislative councils of Davao City and Davao del Norte both passed ordinances promoting organic agriculture."These local ordinances are of great help to small farmers in ending our dependence on highly hazardous pesticides and showing that there are many ways of growing food through non-chemical alternatives," said Nanay Quiling, an advocate of organic vegetable farming in Davao City. (Malu Cadelina Manar)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 06, 2010.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Support World Human Rights Day by supporting the ‘No Pesticides Use Week 2010′

by Charlene on 7 Dec, 2010

Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (PAN AP) calls for precaution to address the issue of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) which impacts women’s health and wellbeing. PAN AP in collaboration with 12 partner organizations from 9 countries in the region is launching the No Pesticide Use Week (NPUW) campaign with the theme Women and Highly Hazardous Pesticides to highlight this issue. NPUW will start on 3rd December in memory of the 1984 Bhopal Disaster, and culminate on December 10, which is World Human Rights Day.

This year’s NPUW focuses on the adverse impacts of HHPs on women to call the attention on the need of effective international actions towards the reduction and elimination of HHPs and their impacts/exposures on women. Various awareness raising activities will be conducted to highlight the need for a progressive ban of HHPs and the urgency to advance ecological agriculture practices.

PAN AP publications will be used as campaign materials. Dr. Meriel Watt’s in her book Pesticides and Breast Cancer: A Wake Up Call shows compelling evidence of harm to women. PAN AP’s summarized brochure of the book has been released for NPUW.

Dr. Watts, also PAN AP’s senior science advisor says “It is important to raise awareness of the serious health risks posed by HHPs particularly to women, because they absorb and store pesticides more readily than men. The health hazard increases dramatically for agriculture worker women because of their routine exposure to hazardous pesticides, which is all the more alarming for pregnant women working in the fields because of potential congenital problems for the unborn child, such as birth defects, as well as development difficulties and cancer later in life.”

Participating non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local grassroots organizations urge their governments to comply with international regulation in monitoring pesticide use in their countries. Nasira Habib, director of Khoj-Society for People’s Education in Pakistan says “The way pesticides are being used and handled we don’t need wars to threaten and finish human life. It is not a secret that women are most adversely affected by the deadly poisons which can also result in deformed future generations. We urge the Government of Pakistan to take urgent action to fulfill the international commitments to regulate and control the use of pesticides”.

For some partners, this is the joyful moment to celebrate the victory with others, when the government finally taking steps to phase out HHPs. Jayakumar Chelaton, director of Thanal, in Kerala, India says “on the occasion of NPUW, we are extremely happy that the state minister for agriculture, Sri. Mullakkara Ratnakaran declared that the State government of Kerala is taking steps to phase out HHPs from Kasaragod in its attempt to make Kasaragod a pesticide free district as part of the program to make Kerala Pesticide free”.

The world must not forget the tragedy of Bhopal that up to this day continues to severely afflict people, particularly women and children.

Twenty six years ago on December 3, 1984, Dow’s factory (formerly Union Carbide) in Bhopal, India leaked 27 tons of poisonous gas and immediately killed about 3,000 – 4000 people and left 50,000 injured. Since then, thousands more have died from gas-related illnesses, like lung cancer, kidney failure and liver disease. Children born to parents affected by this disaster still suffer the effects of the poisonous gases. The nursing milk of women living near the factory contains hazardous chemicals, such as chloroform, lead, and mercury.

Since 1998, PAN AP and its partners commemorate the tragic episode of Bhopal Disaster of 3rd December 1984 to draw attention to the life threatening impacts of HHPs on people’s health and the environment.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Press Release: Dec 3-10- No Pesticides Use Week (NPUW) campaign, 2010

For Immediate Release
December 3, 2010

No Pesticides Use Week 2010:
Save Women from Highly Hazardous Pesticides!

Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (PAN AP) calls for precaution to address the issue of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) which impacts women’s health and wellbeing. PAN AP in collaboration with 12 partner organizations from 9 countries in the region is launching the No Pesticide Use Week (NPUW) campaign with the theme Women and Highly Hazardous Pesticides to highlight this issue. NPUW will start on 3rd December in memory of the 1984 Bhopal Disaster, and culminate on December 10, which is World Human Rights Day.

This year’s NPUW focuses on the adverse impacts of HHPs on women to call the attention on the need of effective international actions towards the reduction and elimination of HHPs and their impacts/exposures on women. Various awareness raising activities will be conducted to highlight the need for a progressive ban of HHPs and the urgency to advance ecological agriculture practices.

PAN AP publications will be used as campaign materials. Dr. Meriel Watt’s in her book Pesticides and Breast Cancer: A Wake Up Call shows compelling evidence of harm to women. PAN AP’s summarized brochure of the book has been released for NPUW.

Dr. Watts, also PAN AP’s senior science advisor says “It is important to raise awareness of the serious health risks posed by HHPs particularly to women, because they absorb and store pesticides more readily than men. The health hazard increases dramatically for agriculture worker women because of their routine exposure to hazardous pesticides, which is all the more alarming for pregnant women working in the fields because of potential congenital problems for the unborn child, such as birth defects, as well as development difficulties and cancer later in life.”

Participating non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local grassroots organizations urge their governments to comply with international regulation in monitoring pesticide use in their countries. Nasira Habib, director of Khoj-Society for People's Education in Pakistan says “The way pesticides are being used and handled we don’t need wars to threaten and finish human life. It is not a secret that women are most adversely affected by the deadly poisons which can also result in deformed future generations. We urge the Government of Pakistan to take urgent action to fulfill the international commitments to regulate and control the use of pesticides”.

For some partners, this is the joyful moment to celebrate the victory with others, when the government finally taking steps to phase out HHPs. Jayakumar Chelaton, director of Thanal, in Kerala, India says “on the occasion of NPUW, we are extremely happy that the state minister for agriculture, Sri. Mullakkara Ratnakaran declared that the State government of Kerala is taking steps to phase out HHPs from Kasaragod in its attempt to make Kasaragod a pesticide free district as part of the program to make Kerala Pesticide free”.

The world must not forget the tragedy of Bhopal that up to this day continues to severely afflict people, particularly women and children.

Twenty six years ago on December 3, 1984, Dow’s factory (formerly Union Carbide) in Bhopal, India leaked 27 tons of poisonous gas and immediately killed about 3,000 - 4000 people and left 50,000 injured. Since then, thousands more have died from gas-related illnesses, like lung cancer, kidney failure and liver disease. Children born to parents affected by this disaster still suffer the effects of the poisonous gases. The nursing milk of women living near the factory contains hazardous chemicals, such as chloroform, lead, and mercury.

Since 1998, PAN AP and its partners commemorate the tragic episode of Bhopal Disaster of 3rd December 1984 to draw attention to the life threatening impacts of HHPs on people’s health and the environment.

Please refer to the attached NPUW programme for the activities of participating partners. For information on how you can get involved in No Pesticides Use Week campaign, or for more details on women and HHPs, please contact Kamla at rkvally@gmail.com 

R. Kamlavally
Pesticide Programme
Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific
P.O. Box 1170, 10850 Penang, Malaysia
Tel: 604-6570271 or 604-6560381
Fax: 604-6583960
E-mail: panap@panap.net
Home page: www.panap.net

Pesticide Action Network (PAN) is a global network working to eliminate the human and environmental harm caused by pesticides and to promote biodiversity-based ecological agriculture. PAN Asia and the Pacific is committed to the empowerment of people especially women, agricultural workers, peasant and indigenous farmers. We believe in a people-centered, pro-women development through food sovereignty, ecological agriculture and sustainable lifestyles.


APPENDIX 1
(NPUW planned activities)

NPUW calls for effective international action towards the reduction and elimination of HHPs and their impacts/exposures on women. 

PAN AP partners from 12 organizations in nine (9) countries will conduct activities to highlight the need for a progressive ban on HHPs, and the urgency to advance ecological agricultural practices.  Below are some of the activities that will take place on December 3-10, 2010:

Cambodia

CEDAC and Pesticide Reduction Network-Cambodia will organize a march in Saang district-Kandal province where 600 people are expected to participate. A radio talk show, farmer and consumer workshop at CEDAC office, visiting an organic farm in Takeo province and a 1 day community workshop in Peam Chor district Prey Veng province are other activities planned by CEDAC. Around 50% women participants are expected in these events.  

China

PEAC will organize a one-day workshop about pesticide hazards and ecological farming. They also will facilitate an online training on Paraquat risks and distribute publications on this topic.

India

THANAL will focus on endosulfan and organize/facilitate state government events accross the state. Thanal also will organize joint programmes (workshop) on HHPs and women with women and environment groups. Additionally, THANAL will be facilitating the IUF Asia/Pacific Meeting on Occupational Health and Safety for Agricultural Workers in Trivandrum. 14-15 December 2010 where compiled reading materials on HHPs will be distributed to participants. The translation of the book ‘Pesticides: Sowing poison, Growing hunger, Reaping sorrow’ into Malayalam is also one of their activities. 

Living Farms will screen documentaries on endosulfan poisoning for government officials, NGOs, media and members of farmer unions in the capital of the state of Orissa. They will facilitate the sharing of experiences by brinjal and cotton farmers on endosulfan use and will submit a memorandum to the district administration demanding an endosulfan ban in four districts. Also, a letter will be sent to the state government, with copies to the press, on the experiences generated during the experience sharing session by farmers.

Indonesia

Gita Pertiwi plan to organize public discussion with consumer and women group from Solo and Karanganyar (2 cities) in Balai Kambang garden with the topic “household pesticide and impact pesticide in health”. They also plan to organize another discussion with consumers group in 5 sub district in Solo with 175 women and the topic is ‘Impact of Pesticide to Household, Children and Women”.

Lao PDR

SAEDA will conduct an awareness-raising and advocacy campaign to consumers at the SAMADP organic market in Pek district, Xiengkhuang province. Also, they will run a daily wide radio announcement & information broadcast on NPUW.

Pakistan

KHOJ Society for People’s Education plan to hold a Grand Rice Festival in Khoj field with a presentation on HHPs and Women. More than three hundred participants are expected. Khoj in collaboration with National Agricultural Research Center, Islamabad at Muzzafargarh in South Punjab plan to organize a seminar on Women and HHPs.

Philippines

PAN Philippines will organize a preparatory consultation meetings particularly with women’s group and youth, a public forum, a video show about the dangers of HHPs, with  distribution of educational, information, and campaign materials. Also, it will issue a press release on 3rd December 2010.

RESIST Network is organizing a Peasant Women Discussion on HHPs, distributing educational, information and campaign materials at 3 target areas – Montalban (Rizal), San Jose Del Monte (Bulacan) and Bay (Laguna). They will issue a press statement on 3rd December in relation to the NPUW.

Sri Lanka

Vikalpani National Women’s Federation will publicize the health effects of HHPs on women through a poster, handbill and postcard campaign as well as a national level conference. Regional level trainings in 5 districts are planned in order to bring awarenes on how pesticides are dangerous to women. The target groups for all these activities are farmers, women farmers, health and agricultural officers, NGO partners and youth. The activities will also include a letter campaign to the Sri Lankan government demanding a full phase out of Paraquat by 2011. 

Vietnam

An Giang University will give training for high-school students in the project site to increase their awareness of the current pesticide use and the ways to protect human health and environment in the locality.

CGFED has collaborated with the Women Union of Hai Hau District to organize the event. They has collected information related to women and HHPs and will send them to local leaders/key persons, women/farmers through the meetings. Besides sending information to mass media, CGFED will also share NPUW informations to NGOs such as Network of Gender and Development (Gencomnet) and Coperation and Development Network.




Thursday, December 2, 2010

India: Endosulfan's Lethal impact

by R. KRISHNAKUMAR

The issues relating to the victims of endosulfan, sprayed in the plantations of Kasargod district in Kerala, have snowballed once again. 


THULASI KAKKAT

 
Ajith Shaji, anine-year-old victim of endosulfan, at Badiyadukka panchayat in Kasargod district.

“Earthworms emerged from the soil, and, subsequently, died. Then birds came to eat the earthworms and they died as well.”
“Some termites were killed in a cotton farm sprayed with endosulfan. A frog fed on the dead termites, and was immobilised a few minutes later. An owl which flew over saw the immobilised frog, caught it as prey, and then sat on a tree branch to enjoy its meal. Ten minutes later, the owl fell down and died.”
– Farmer-speak reported from the cotton fields
sprayed with the pesticide endosulfan in the
Republic of Benin in western Africa,
as quoted in a 2002 study conducted by the
Indian Medical Association at Padre village in Kasargod district, Kerala.

A LOT has changed in the decade after the initial alarms were sounded against the continuous use of endosulfan in the cashew-growing villages of Kerala's Kasargod district, and such images from faraway Africa are no longer needed to demonstrate the effects of the widely used pesticide on living beings.

Today, the name of the deadly chemical at once evokes tragic images of its living human victims – of children born with stag-horn limbs, scale-like skin, protruding tongues, eye deformities, extra fingers and toes, cleft palates, club feet and harelips; of those suffering from hydrocephalus (progressive enlargement of the head, convulsion and mental disability), dermatitis, renal diseases, respiratory disorders, cognitive and emotional deterioration, memory loss, impairment of visual-motor coordination, blindness, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and infertility; of young girls and boys who have undergone multiple surgery and artificial limb modification; of young mothers who have opted for repeated abortions instead of giving birth to headless/limbless/deformed children; of young men and women who look like children; and, of children who look like stunted grandparents.

State government surveys indicate that 486 people exposed to the pesticide have died in these villages so far and that nearly 3,000 people continue to suffer the debilitating effects of the chemical sprayed on the cashew plantations. According to the Endosulfan Action Committee, an umbrella body representing nearly a dozen organisations working for the relief and rehabilitation of the affected people, however, there are at least 8,000 to 9,000 victims still suffering the debilitating effects of the aerial spraying of endosulfan done mainly in the three cashew plantations (total area 4,715 hectares) owned by the Plantation Corporation of Kerala (PCK) until 2002, when a ban was first imposed by the Kerala High Court.

Endosulfan is a long-lasting pesticide used primarily to kill insects and mites on various crops including cotton, tea, coffee, cashew, cardamom, fruits, vegetables, rice and grain. It is semi-volatile and is known to spread through air, water, soil and food and other means to even the remote corners of the world, including the Himalayas, the Arctic and the Antarctic. It contaminates global food supply and drinking water, is passed from mothers to their unborn children, and is ‘bioaccumulative'.

In human beings, once it is ingested through the stomach, lungs or through the skin, it acts as an endocrine disrupter, interfering with normal hormone production activity in both males and females, and can significantly affect the nervous system. There is also inconclusive evidence that it causes cancer. Studies show that it “accumulates in fatty tissue, placental tissue, umbilical cord blood and breast milk” and, therefore, “a foetus can be exposed” when still in the uterus, and the child, after birth, can be “re-exposed through the consumption of breast milk”. Unborn children and infants are particularly vulnerable to its effects, as are the elderly.

Kasargod's tragedy
Kasargod's endosulfan tragedy and its reasons are now well-documented. It was in 1963 that the State Agriculture Department began planting cashew trees on the hills surrounding the villages in the northern areas of Kasargod district. In 1978, the PCK, which in later years assumed the likeness of a rogue body in the eyes of the people, took over these plantations.

By the early 1980s, the PCK had started its frightening thrice-a-year ritual of aerial spraying of endosulfan in an extensive area of undulating, cashew-growing hills and valleys spread over a dozen villages. To the government-owned company, endosulfan was a cost-effective antidote to the pestilence caused by the tea mosquito bug, a destructive insect often responsible for considerable yield losses in cashew, a major foreign-exchange-earning farm produce in the State.

The unsuspecting villagers were thus “excessively and repeatedly” exposed to the chemical, initially as they stood gaping at the novelty of helicopters spewing the pesticide, or during their daily chores, especially when using the water flowing down the hills, or while using contaminated food, vegetables and fuelwood or even, as plantation workers, as they stood on the edges of the estates without protective clothing or gear during the spraying.

The PCK ignored stipulations that such aerial spraying of pesticides should be done very close to the canopy level or that the same pesticide should not be used continuously for such a long time in an area. Copters often flew much above the stipulated three metres above the cashew trees to avoid power lines and thus caused the spread of the highly toxic chemical to a wider area. The water and soil in the villages were contaminated severely. Even the possibility of the bugs acquiring immunity because of long-term exposure was not considered by the PCK.


H. VIBHU

Outside Hindustan Insecticides Limited plant at Udhyogamandal near Kochi on November 22, protesters hold a placard that says 'Stop production of endosulfan' and shows the genetic deformation in the victims of endosulfan. HIL is one of the largest producers of endosulfan in India.


There were also several warning signals that were ignored completely: dead birds, frogs and fish in the streams and rivulets; cattle, and wildlife found dead in the plantation areas; and local people experiencing acute endosulfan toxicity symptoms after the spraying sorties over their villages.

The increasing instances of congenital physical disorders, delayed sexual maturity, mental disabilities, psychiatric problems, infertility, blindness among children, cancer and suicides within a small area, much higher than the State average, began to be noticed only by the late 1990s. High levels of endosulfan residues were detected in the blood and breast milk of villagers and the incidences of disorders of the reproductive and nervous systems and cancer were found to be very high. The possibility that the morbidity was a result of the pesticide being used in the plantations came to be widely understood only after 2001, that too because of the activities of a few individuals and media reports that came in their wake.

A public outcry and court cases ensued. The government first ordered a temporary ban in August 2001 but subsequently, in March 2002, confined it to the aerial spraying of the pesticide. However, in August 2002, following a report of an inquiry by the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH), Ahmedabad, which linked many of the ailments to the use of the pesticide, the Kerala High Court ordered an interim ban on its use, until, it said, an inquiry committee constituted by the Union government submitted its report.

The O.P. Dubey Committee, which then gave a clean chit to the use of the pesticide, marked the beginning of a series of such inquiries and temporary bans on endosulfan in Kerala that were ordered as a matter of routine whenever public outrage boiled over or when courts intervened.

Nearly 15 studies have so far been undertaken, mostly by government agencies, and several of them have maintained (rather dubiously, according to NGOs and other organisations) that a clear link could not be established between the pesticide and the health problems of the people in the villages in Kasargod. A few significant reports, especially of the NIOH, the New Delhi-based NGO Centre for Science and Environment, and an expert committee constituted by the State government in 2003, have, however, found the pesticide to be the villain and supported the case for a ban.

In December 2004, the State Pollution Control Board again suspended the aerial spraying of endosulfan, and (on the basis of the 2002 Kerala High Court order) the Union government ordered in October 2005 that the sale, distribution and use of endosulfan in the State of Kerala shall remain prohibited “till the results of (another) expert committee became available and a further decision was taken by the Central government”.
The question of a total ban on endosulfan in Kerala was left to dally rather ambiguously from then on, with the C.D. Mayee Committee appointed thereafter endorsing many of the controversial claims of the earlier committee led by Dubey.

In the six years that followed, though the aerial spraying of endosulfan in the cashew plantations of Kasargod was stopped, the use of the pesticide itself became rather more widespread in Kerala with the chemical being smuggled in from neighbouring States in large quantities for use in rubber, tea and cardamom plantations and in farms. The morbidity patterns, as seen among the victims in Kasargod, have gradually come to be reported rather alarmingly from many other agricultural districts of the State, such as Idukki, Wayanad and Palakkad as also from the cashew-growing regions of Dakshina Kannada district in neighbouring Karnataka.

Given the obvious and debilitating effects of the pesticide on an entire generation of people in Kasargod, no State government could ignore their plight for long. Yet, it was only in 2006 that a new Left Democratic Front government eventually acknowledged the suffering of the victims, offering at least a nominal compensation of Rs.50,000 to the survivors, pension for families of victims, and medical and social rehabilitation facilities – though it was far from adequate for the victims.

In denial
In general, governments have so far been in denial or at best had taken only an ambivalent stand on the issues of the devastating effects of endosulfan on human beings and a total ban on the pesticide. For one, acknowledging the gravity of the situation in Kasargod as having been caused by the unmindful spraying of the pesticide by a government agency would have immediately given rise to the demand for the application of the “polluter pays” principle, adequate compensation for the victims and punishment for those found guilty of such an appalling act.

Moreover, India is one of the largest producers of pesticides in the world and continues to be the largest producer and user of endosulfan, with reportedly over 60 manufacturers and formulators involved in its production and sale. It is a powerful lobby, and there are frequent allegations by NGOs and others about the connivance of government agencies and regulatory bodies with pesticide manufacturers and their business interests.

For example, India's top three manufacturers – among them the public sector Hindustan Insecticides Ltd. (HIL), Kochi – together produced 9,500 tonnes of endosulfan between 2007 and 2008, and 5,500 tonnes of it was used domestically, according to one report.

HIL, ironically, is based in the heavily polluted industrial belt on the banks of the Periyar river in central Kerala and is a Government of India enterprise. It is today one of the largest producers of endosulfan in India, manufacturing 1,500 tonnes of endosulfan (technical grade) and 1,900 kilolitres of liquid endosulfan a year, both for use within India (not in Kerala) and for export. But there are equally prominent manufacturers of “crop protection chemicals” in the private sector too, such as Excel Industries Ltd, EID Parry and Coromandel Fertilizers Ltd.

Controversial argument
The pesticide industries and many government leaders and agencies in India have continuously denied the severe harmful effects of endosulfan and maintained that the tragedy in Kasargod was the result of the improper mode of application of the pesticide (the method of spraying from the air) adopted there. As recently as in October 25, the Union Minister of State for Agriculture K.V. Thomas was seen reiterating this argument at a seminar in Kasargod, even as some of the victims were protesting against the Government of India's increasingly isolated stand opposing a global ban on endosulfan (at the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee of the Stockholm Convention held in Geneva a few days earlier).

It is a controversial argument that stands against the accumulating evidence of peer-reviewed scientific studies the world over and an increasingly popular demand for a global ban on endosulfan. The Minister's statement was opposed vigorously even by his own party colleagues within Kerala and in Parliament. With the State Assembly elections round the corner in Kerala, and with the crucial proposal for the inclusion of endosulfan in Annex A to the Stockholm Convention (which would lead to its elimination from the global market) under the active consideration of the 170-member international treaty representatives meeting in Geneva in April 2011, the issues surrounding the endosulfan victims of Kasargod seem to have achieved critical mass once again, after being on the back burner for a while.

On November 18, the National Human Rights Commission issued notices to the Central and State governments seeking explanations on media reports that the aerial spraying of endosulfan in Kasargod had affected people severely. The very next day, even as the State government and several political leaders began to call for a nationwide ban on the use of endosulfan, the Kerala Pollution Control Board issued a notification reintroducing a State-wide ban on the pesticide under pollution control laws.

On November 24, the Kerala government also announced a “comprehensive package” for relief and rehabilitation of the victims of endosulfan in Kasargod, and sought an assistance of Rs.100 crore from the Centre. The package included a proposal for an immediate moratorium on the recovery of loans availed by the victims, other debt relief measures, and (yet to be finalised) higher compensation and pension for the victims, special facilities for their care, including provision of more health, education, housing and drinking water facilities, and decontamination of water sources.

The endosulfan victims of Kasargod are centre stage once again, thanks also to the media focus on and the pressure from international NGOs, academics and experts against India's opposition to the proposal for a global ban at the Stockholm Convention, under the pretext, among other reasons, that there is still no “robust evidence” to prove the health and environmental impact of the pesticide.

Endosulfan has been used in agriculture since the early 1950s, but is now banned in over 62 countries, including those in the European Union and, following widespread protests, in the United States too from this year, because of high toxicity to humans and other organisms and its quality of persistence in the environment. Significantly, the U.S. ban was announced by its Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on June 7, 2010, with the following words: “The EPA is taking action to end all uses of the insecticide Endosulfan in the United States. Endosulfan, which is used in vegetables, fruits, and cotton, can pose unacceptable neurological and reproductive risks to farm-workers and wildlife and can persist in the environment.”

According to a report prepared by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), a U.K.-based international NGO, endosulfan is an organochlorine pesticide like the widely banned DDT and dieldrin. Because they tend to persist in the environment and bioaccumulate in humans and other animals (particularly in the liver, the kidney and fatty tissues), such pollutants are of concern “because of their long-term subtle effects on hormones, the immune system, and reproduction”.

It was indeed after an evaluation of the risk profile of endosulfan that the POPs Review Committee of the Stockholm Convention decided to seek the approval from its ‘Conference of Parties' for a global ban on the pesticide, at a forthcoming meeting in April. “Robust evidence” that endosulfan is “persistent, bioaccumulative and has the potential for long-range environmental transport and adverse human health and environmental effects” has been piling up from all over the world, including from India.

The affected villagers in Kasargod are but the living examples of the lethal impact of the pesticide.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Drive against pesticides gains momentum

Anti-pesticide week from December 3 in Idukki

The Agriculture Department will observe anti-pesticide week from December 3 to 10 in Idukki and monitoring of pesticides sprayed on estates will be intensified during the period. Principal agriculture officer K.K. Chandran told The Hindu on Monday that campaigns among estate workers would be organised in association with grama panchayats, non-governmental organisations and research centres against the use of Endosulfan during the period. 

He said Endosulfan and pesticides beyond the date of expiry would be seized from sales outlets and legal action would be initiated. Mr. Chandran said there was a tendency among farmers to buy pesticides beyond the date of expiry at reduced rate and spray it above the prescribed limit, especially in small-scale cardamom plantations. This had resulted in withering of crops which also created health problems. He said there was prescribed dose for each pesticide and the farmers often flouted it when the price of cardamom went up, producing negative results.

During the campaign, the farmers would be exposed to all unhealthy practices and the ill effects of Endosulfan would be explained to the estate workers. Officials of the department had been posted at check-posts through which Endosulfan was being smuggled into the cardamom plantations. Farmers using Endosulfan or pesticides above the prescribed limit would not be allowed any financial or other help of the department, he said. Field studies would be conducted and samples would be tested to analyse the pesticides used in vegetable farms and the level of dosage, Mr. Chandran said.

The decision to intensify the campaign against the use of yellow or red labelled pesticides and Endosulfan in the cardamom and tea plantations follows a meeting of officials convened by Agriculture Minister Mullakara Ratnakaran at the mini civil station in Thodupuzha on Saturday.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Illegal Mothballs Resembling Candy Imported by Brooklyn Company


Approximately 4,800 bags containing moth balls resembling candy were found by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a New Jersey warehouse. The illegal pesticides, which are not registered with the EPA, were imported by a Brooklyn-based company from China. 

The EPA is asking consumers who may have purchased the bright packaging, labeled Fuji Lavender Moth Tablets, to contact the EPA so that the products can be disposed of properly.

“Importing pesticide products that are not registered with EPA is a serious violation," said EPA regional administrator Judith Enck in a statement by the agency. "The registration process ensures that we know what pesticides are in the products, and that they have labels with directions for proper use. Mothballs sold in colorful packaging that resemble candy pose a particular risk to children.”

The EPA says it suspects the mothballs contain a chemical called para-dichlorobenzene, which can cause a number of illnesses including respiratory distress, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Endosulfan crave lives in Muthalamada ‘Mango City’



The large scale use of Endosulfan in the agriculture farms, particularly in the ‘Mango City’ in Muthalamada for better yield cave lives in this border area of Chittur taluk with Tami Nadu. The symptoms of diseases found in Muthalamada area are similar to the ones found in Kasaragod where the deadly pesticide was once used in cashew farms. The easy availability of Endosulfan from across the border compounded the problem in this agriculture dominated area. 

People living near the mango orchards at Muthalamada panchayat are facing a number of health problems due to the use of Endosulfan pesticide. Mango farms are concentrated from Govindapuram to Nemmara, all along the Thenmala region of Nelliampathy Hills. About 60 sq km in the region is under mango cultivation. In order to get more yields, the farmers and middlemen allegedly use a huge quantity of deadly pesticides. 

A number of children died earlier and many are facing the same problems. Four of them are undergoing treatment, says S. Guruvayurappan, project coordinator of Wildlife Protection Society of India. Seven year old Soumya, daughter of Chandran and Rugmini of Banglamed, Muthalamada is affected with Cerebral Meninjaitis soon after her birth. 

The family is living in the midst of Muthalamada `mango city’ for the last 15 years. Their son Saju (11) is born with low mental growth, eye sight and is unable to speak. Ten year old Sakthivel is affected with skin disease (Soriasis type). He was taken to Thrissur Medical College for treatment. Some oil massages were also done. But no relief yet. The family is living in Ambedkar Colony, Govindapuram in the border area. Eleven year old Sneha, daughter of Silomani, is also having low mental growth and breathing problems. 

Ten year old Kirana, daughter of Kittu and Radhika is physically disabled since birth. She is not able to move and is confined to her bed though from outside she looks alright. They live in Cheerani Road in Kollengode Panchayat. Pesticide spraying is rampant in the Mango Orchards in the area. Endosulfan is easily available in the Muthalamada area from across the border; it is just 10 to 15 minutes' journey to the neighbouring Tamil Nadu. There is no mechanism to check smuggling of Endosulfan into Kerala. 

A study conducted by National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) on the health hazards of Endosulfan spraying in Kasaragod in 2001 had found that the pesticide is the cause of a number of health problems among schoolchildren living in the exposed area. These children had significantly lower intelligence level and very high incidence of various sexual disorders. 

The NIOH had found Endosulfan residues even after 10 months of spraying in the soil and water in the affected areas. Even blood samples of young children had deadly residues of the pesticide. In a memorandum submitted to the Environment Committee of the State Assembly during its visit to Muthalamada as back as in February, 2007 to study the problems of the use of Endosulfan, the Wildlife Protection Society sought promotion of organic farming and use of bio pest repellents and fertilizers. 

Mr. Guruvayurappan,said a health survey jointly conducted by them along with Ecological Protection Group and Calicut University Education Centre in January 2006 at Muthalamada found that one-third of the 500 families living in the area are affected by deadly diseases such as cancer, mental disability, genetic disorders, TB and related respiratory disease, blindness, skin disease, etc. 

The use of chemical pesticides did not also spare the animals and insects in the area. It resulted in massive death of butterflies, beetles, birds, monkeys, etc. The domestic animals such as cattle also became the victims of the deadly pesticide, he said. 



Friday, November 26, 2010

Film celebrates Rachel Carson

By KATHLEEN ALLEN

A genuine heroine will be celebrated at Tucson's Historic Fox Theatre next Friday. Rachel Carson, who battled cancer, big chemical corporations and the government in the last year of her life (she died of breast cancer in 1964), sounded the first alarms about pesticides poisoning the Earth with her 1962 book, "Silent Spring." 

The Center for Children & Nature (CCN) at Prescott College will screen "A Sense of Wonder," a film about the last year of Carson's life, when the writer/biologist brought national attention to environmental issues. Also slated for the festive evening are food, a silent auction and entertainment. It's all a fundraiser for CNN, which operates the Ironwood Tree Experience, a very cool eco-program for kids 12 through 19 (find out more about Ironwood at www.ironwoodtreeexperience.org). 

"A Sense of Wonder" aired on PBS earlier this year. Kaiulani Lee adapted the documentary-style film from her play of the same name. It was shot on location at Carson's waterfront cabin in Maine. It's worth seeing just for the landscape, but go and you'll find yourself falling in love with this feisty, passionate woman who has been dubbed the patron saint of the environmental movement. 

Tickets to the event are $20; $10 for children 12 to 18. The fun starts at 5:30 p.m., and the film screens at 8 p.m. at the Fox, 17 W. Congress St. Get tickets at 319-9868. Originally published by KATHLEEN ALLEN, ARIZONA DAILY STAR. 

(c) 2010 Arizona Daily Star. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.
A service of YellowBrix, Inc.

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Note: Next Friday is global No Pesticide Use Day!

Launched in 1998 by Pesticide Action Network International, December 3 was designated Global No Pesticides Use Day in memory of the 1984 disaster in Bhopal , India. For more information please refer to http://www.panap.net/en/p/page/pesticides-campaigns-npud/41

More pesticides to be withdrawn in Kasaragod

K.A. Martin
Sale licences of Red and Yellow categories to be revoked

Action against dangerous categories
Residue-testing
lab in Palakkad


KOCHI: In what is perceived to be the firmest steps yet towards combating synthetic pesticides and their impact on human health, the State government has decided to withdraw licences to sell Red and Yellow categories of pesticides in Kasaragod district from December and to establish a state-of-the-art residue-testing laboratory in Palakkad district in six to seven months.

Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran told The Hindu on Thursday that the order to withdraw licences to sell these most dangerous categories of pesticides would be issued on December 3, the global No-Pesticides Use Day.

The Minister said the State government had sought support from the Union government for the withdrawal and as in the case of Endosulfan, it would only be the beginning of a move to take similar steps for the rest of Kerala in a phased manner. The order will empower agriculture officers to check the effectiveness of the withdrawal and entrust them the task to create public awareness.

The Agriculture Department has received a proposal to set up a laboratory facility for testing of vegetables and fruits for pesticide residues in Palakkad district. The laboratory will be in line with the one functioning at the College of Agriculture at Vellayani in Thiruvananthapuram. The Palakkad laboratory is expected to be funded jointly by the State government and the National Horticulture Mission.

Field reports
The move by the State government comes amid field reports that rising prices of vegetables and unprecedented pest attacks are forcing farmers in Kerala to resort to indiscriminate use of pesticides and fungicides across the spectrum of food crops. The Minister says that Kerala has got into a “pesticide trap.” The comment came in his letter to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar expressing the State's views on the new Pesticides Management Bill.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

119 horticulture companies 
fined for trading 
in illegal pesticides

DUBAI — A recent crackdown on Dubai’s horticulture companies resulted in the Dubai Municipality fining 119 companies for fraudulent practices and seizing 110 litres of illegal pesticides from them. A total of 642 companies, including flower stalls, nurseries, fertiliser plants and companies trading in horticultural pesticides, were inspected during the special inspection campaign organised by the Public Parks and Horticulture Department at the municipality in cooperation with the Department of Economic Development (DED).
Warning notices were issued against horticultural firms functioning without licence by the Dubai Municipality and a fine of Dh6,000 each was levied for the conduct of pest control activity at the site without licence by the DED. “The offenders were caught to ensure non-spreading of horticultural pests and to stop fraudulent practices, and to provide greater protection to consumers,” the municipality said in a media release. The warehouses in Karama were caught for filling agricultural pesticides and liquid fertilisers from the original containers to other plastic containers of different sizes.
The seizures include 10 pesticides (Vindona) in one litre containers, 71 insecticides (Mouseblan) in 100 grammes packets, 93 refilled pesticide containers without any stickers indicating the capacity of the package, one 8-litre bottle of Target cockroach gel and three rolls, each one with 620 empty plastic containers totalling 1,860 containers.The campaign also resulted in the seizure of nine vehicles used for the sale of date palm plants in these areas as 76 palm trees were for sale. All of these vehicles have been issued warning by Dubai Municipality for unlicensed horticultural activities and fines were issued by the DED.
The Public Parks and Horticulture Department has called upon the public not to buy any palm plants from street vendors. Residents have also been urged to buy plants through specialised companies licenced by the municipality.Otherwise, the municipality warned, the residents will be encouraging a hazardous practice that will lead to the trading of inferior types of palms and will also help in the spread of agricultural pests, especially red palm weevil. Public can call the toll-free number, 800900, for comments or questions.      
 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ban on endosulfan after detailed talks, says Centre


Thiruvananthapuram, Tuesday, November 23, 2010: The Central agricultural ministry today informed that a complete ban on endosulfan can be imposed only after detailed talks with all states. The Agricultural ministry expressed this during the review meeting convened by the Union Environment and Forests Ministry at New Delhi today.

While Kerala CM, VS Achuthanandan had informed that the government would provide a comprehensive rehabilitation package for the endosulfan victims in the State. He said that a moratorium would be announced to clear the debts of victims and they would be given rice for Rs 2 a kg.

An all-party delegation would meet prime minister with the demand to ban the pesticide in the whole country. The meet also decided to build and distribute houses to the homeless in the affected areas.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pesticides and Breast Cancer: A Wake Up Call

by Dr Meriel Watts PhD

Breast cancer is by far the most common cause of cancer in women throughout the world, and incidence is escalating in the Asia Pacific region. It is time for systemic change in our attitudes to pesticides: we need to implement the precautionary principle and substitute safer ecological methods of managing pests, weeds and disease, for those pesticides exposed here as having the potential to cause breast cancer.

Written by PAN AP scientist and coordinator of PAN Aotearoa/New Zealand, Dr. Meriel Watts PhD, the book provides a compelling argument for preventing the exposure of women and girls to many of today’s commonly used pesticides. This collation of scientific evidence stretching over more than 30 years indicts 98 pesticides—including insecticides, herbicides and fungicides—one common adjuvant and two contaminants of pesticide formulations, as having the potential to cause breast cancer.

“Pesticides: Sowing Poisons, Growing Hunger, Reaping Sorrow”


2nd Edition, 2010
by Meriel Watts PhD

This Policy Research and Analysis on “Pesticides: Sowing Poisons, Growing Hunger, Reaping Sorrow” has been produced for information sharing and exchange with our network partners, the media, and the public at large. It addresses the role of pesticides within the industrial complex. This has eroded traditional and organic agricultural systems that provided for people’s food needs, causing a shift from production of food to crops for cash.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pesticide exposure causes attention problems in children

Monday, November 22, 2010 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Children who are exposed to organophosphate pesticides in utero are significantly more likely to develop attention problems later in life, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of California-Berkeley and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

The researchers tested the urine of pregnant Mexican-American women living in California's Salinas Valley, a major agricultural region, for pesticide metabolites. Their children were then followed for five years, being regularly tested for pesticide metabolites and attention disorders. Attention was evaluated through parental questionnaires and standardized tests.

The researchers found that while only a weak connection between attention problems and prenatal pesticide exposure was observed by age three, by age five a significant correlation was observed.

A tenfold higher concentration of organophosphate metabolites in a mother's urine corresponded to a 500 percent increase in her child's risk of being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A higher concentration of metabolites in a child's urine was also correlated with an increased risk of diagnosis, though not as strongly.

A previous study found that children with high levels of organophosphate metabolites in their urine were nearly 100 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD as children with no detectable metabolites. Organophosphates and other pesticides have also been linked to other nervous system disorders, such as Parkinson's disease.

"There has been a linkage between early pesticide exposure and a later loss of dopamine-producing cells in the substantia nigra, a pathology associated with Parkinson's disease," write Peter J. Whitehouse and Daniel George in their book The Myth of Alzheimer's.


A connection between pesticide exposure and nerve-related disorders is not surprising, since many pesticides -- including organophosphates -- are designed to disrupt insect nervous systems. One of the neurotransmitters that they target, acetylcholine, is also found in the human brain.


Approximately 40 different organophosphate pesticides are currently approved for use in the United States. Source:
http://www.naturalnews.com/030477_pesticides_attention_deficit_disorder.html 

110 litres of 'illegal' pesticides seized

110 litres of 'illegal' pesticides seized

Dh6,000 fine for warehouses operating without licences


Dubai Municipality seized 110 litres of 'illegal' pesticides in inspections on about 642 agriculture-related facilities and 119 companies were issued notices for violation of rules. Department of Public Parks and Horticulture, Dubai Municipality, in cooperation with the Department of Economic Development inspected 642 agriculture-related facilities including nurseries, fertiliser factories, etc, reported 'Al Ittihad' newspaper.

Inspectors found 'illegal' warehouses in Karama area where pesticides and fertilisers were refilled in plastic containers. The municipality issued Dh6,000 fine each to owners for operating warehouses without a valid licence, seized the products and detroyed them.The inspections were conducted as per Local Order No54 of 1990; No40 of 1989 and No59 of 1991 to reduce the spread of agriculture pests and fraud in the sector. Source: http://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/110-litres-of-illegal-pesticides-seized-2010-11-22-1.319646 
 
 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mother kills self, poisons 3 kids

Wed, Nov 17 04:39 PM

Araria (Bihar), Nov 17 (PTI) A woman today allegedly committed suicide by consuming pesticide after poisoning her three children in Bihar''s Araria district, police said. According to police, the 35-year-old woman first forced her four children, aged between one and seven years, to have pesticide before taking it herself.

While the mother and three children died, a girl child survived and was rushed to a PHC at Narpatganj. The woman took the extreme step apparently due to frequent family quarrels, police said. The woman''s husband was in a nearby mosque when the incident took place, they said.


PESTICIDE UPDATES (10th November 2010)

PESTICIDE UPDATES (10th November 2010)

Paraguay bans endosulfan

There was good news today from Centro de Análisis y Acción en Tóxicos y sus Alternativas (CAATA) announcing that the Government of Paraguay confirmed the phase out endosulfan, by authorities of SENAVE ( a government body in charge of pesticide registration and crop and seed safety and national quality control) during the Seminar on Highly Hazardous Pesticides, obsolete and endosulfan phase out conducted in the National Congress, in Asuncion, Paraguay, organized by the NGO ALTERVIDA, a RAP-AL member ( PAN Latin America) The Seminar is also supported in part by IPEN. For more information please visit: http://www.ejfoundation.org/page697.html

 

Ban on endosulfan: Centre to appoint expert panel
New Delhi, Monday, November 01, 2010: The Central ministry for environment and forests has decided to appoint an expert committee to conduct study on banning endosulfan. The Centre’s decision to formulate a five member expert committee was informed by Union minister Jairam Ramesh to the State government. The five-member committee would also include one member from Kerala. The committee would submit the report within one month’s time. The State government had earlier informed the Centre on the hazardous side effects after the use of the endosulfan. For more information please visit:
http://www.asianetindia.com/news/ban-endosulfan-centre-appoint-expert-panel_206608.html

Indian veggies, fruits remain highly toxic

NEW DELHI: Rampant use of banned pesticides in fruits and vegetables continues to put at risk the life of the common man. Farmers apply pesticides such as chlordane, endrin and heptachor that can cause serious neurological problems, kidney damage and skin diseases. A study conducted by Delhi-based NGO Consumer-Voice reveals that the amount of pesticides used in eatables in India is as much as 750 times the European standards. The survey collected sample data from various wholesale and retail shops in Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata. For more information please visit:

WHO pesticide regulations should be based on toxicity in humans, not rats

Current WHO pesticide classifications are based on toxicity in rats but basing regulation on human toxicity will make pesticide poisoning less hazardous and prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths globally without compromising agricultural needs. These are the key findings from a study by Andrew Dawson (South Asian Clinical Toxicology Research Collaboration, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka) and colleagues published in this week's PLoS Medicine. For more information please visit:



CAMPAIGN: Endosulfan: march on HIL planned

Endosulfan: march on HIL planned

Special Correspondent
KOCHI: The Forum Against Endosulfan will march on the public-sector Hindustan Insecticides Limited (HIL) factory at Eloor, which produces Endosulfan, on the anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy, on December 3.
The marchers will demand an end to the production, sale and use of Endosulfan which is harmful to human and environmental health.

The HIL, a multi-unit Central Government enterprise, produces Endosulfan under the brand name Hildan. In the past, several environmental and Periyar protection organisations had urged the government to get Endosulfan production stopped by HIL, following detection of heavy doses of Endosulfan residues in the Kuzhikandam Canal at Eloor a couple of years ago. The forum has decided to send a mass petition to the Prime Minister seeking to get Endosulfan banned in the country. The forum condemned Union Minister K.V. Thomas, who reportedly stated that Endosulfan caused no harm to human health.