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.

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