Monday, June 27, 2011

Endosulfan listed under Rotterdam Convention

A view of the plenary session of conference of parties to the Rotterdam convention meeting in Geneva. Photo: IISD Reporting Services

India supports listing of pesticide

The Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention, meeting in Geneva, decided to list endosulfan under annex III to the Convention on Friday.This makes prior informed consent of importing countries necessary for export of the pesticide. India, an exporter, did not object to listing of the pesticide.

India exports half of its annual production of around 9000 tonnes of endosulfan. However, production was stopped temporarily this month on orders from the Supreme Court on a petition filed by the Democratic Youth Federation of India, citing harmful health effects of the pesticide. The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade is aimed at helping poor countries in managing potentially hazardous chemicals imported by them.

The Conference postponed a decision on listing of chrysotile (white asbestos) to its next meeting as no consensus could be reached. However, a declaration was drafted by Australia and signed by many of the country-delegates seeking to pursue voluntary exchange of information. Canada (besides some other countries) had strongly opposed the listing of asbestos without stating its reasons even while agreeing that the scientific criteria for listing had been met. On Thursday, the European Union expressed severe disappointment over the failure of discussions on asbestos and thanked India for changing its stand and supporting its listing. India initially objected to the listing of asbestos.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bad pesticides ruin Delta rice crop

CUU LONG DELTA — Farmers in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, already hit by topsy-turvy weather, are in danger of losing their rice crop to fake pesticides, Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper reported. The Chau Phu District Plant Protection Station in An Giang Province, for instance, reported strange signs like the unusual length of the internode and leaf (15cm) after a farmer used Asia Biochemical Co Ltd's pesticide known as BIM downy 75WP.

The province Plant Protection Department earlier reported 13 cases of production and distribution of fake pesticides, mostly of popular brands like Oshin 20WP, Chess 50WG, Atonik 1.8DD, Clincher 10 EC. "Many [of them] had anti-counterfeit stamps," Bui Van Khai, the department's chief inspector, said. Plant protection departments in Kien Giang and Dong Thap Provinces have also reported that many fake pesticide products are being sold.

"The producers do not focus on expensive pesticides that are easily detected [in case of fakes]," Nguyen Van Thien, director of the Dong Thap Plant Protection Department, said. Agriculturists warn that the rampant sale of fake products is likely to be the last straw for farmers who are already grappling with unseasonable weather since planting their summer-autumn crop.

Nguyen Phuoc Tuyen, head of scientific research at the Dong Thap Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said: "Farmers spray plant protection chemicals when they find their paddy diseased."Most of them will spray again and again if they see no improvement."

"Most active elements and solvents in these fake medicines are toxic compounds which do not decompose, and are toxic for the environment," Tuyen said. "They also exterminate fish and shrimp, and threaten the health of the sprayers." Inspectors should intensify oversight of manufacturing points, he said. They have for long focused on inspecting outlets selling pesticides, while the root of the problem – places where the spurious chemicals are manufactured – has not received attention, he said. Inspection of manufacturing places should not be difficult, and fakes could be "easily discovered" in the transportation phase, he said — VNS