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 

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
Home page:

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.

(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:


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.  


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.


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.


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”.


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.


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.


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. 


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.


  1. We have a good news from our partner- “CEDAC and partners Pesticide reduction Network in Cambodia just successfully finished our campaign "NO Pesticide Use" in Saang district, Kandal province. More than 700 people participated in the parade and meeting including Secretary of state Ministry of Environment (H.E Khiev Mout), Deputy of Kandal provincal Governor (H.E Chhem Sokhorn), Deputy General Directoriate of Agriculture, MAFF (Mr. Pen Vuth), other government officers, farmers, NGOs and school students”. said Mr Keam Makarady of CEDAC.

  2. Successful event by THANAL, Kerala “We had a good event with state issuing formal order stopping sale of all red and yellow catagory of pesticides. Smt. Leelakumari who started the endosulfan struggle was felicitated by the minister who called for moving out of the pesticide trap by community mobilising. He also told that in the event of the crisis of climate he and the state government asks people to bow down to land and join the struggle to stand up with high esteem as a food sovereign state, great meeting and today over 500 meetings are organized as part of NPUW in Kerala and will continue them till 10th Dec”. Jayan