Geneva meet bans endosulfan

Geneva meet bans endosulfan

Decision is victory of people against pesticide lobby, says Achuthanandan

The conference took the decision based on the risk profile and risk management for endosulfan done by the Persistent Organic Pollutant Review Committee.

The ban, which will cover technical endosulfan, its related isomers and endosulfan sulphate, is expected to take over five years to show some effect. The Union Cabinet will have to ratify the decision if the ban has to take effect in the country.

According to C Jayakumar, environmentalist and an independent observer  attending the meet, though the conference approved the ban which was recommended, India was also allowed sufficient exemptions that it demanded. 

This means that endosulfan can still be used against specified pests in cotton, jute, coffee, tea, tobacco, cowpeas, beans, tomato, okra, eggplant, onion, potato, chillies, apple, mango, gram, arhar, maize, rice, wheat, groundnut and mustard till alternatives are found.

There is no other cheaper and effective broad spectrum pesticide available to Indian farmers as of now.

CM breaks news
Incidentally, the “breaking news’’ in Kerala came from the office of Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan who has been in the vanguard of the “ban endosulfan movement” raging in the state for the past several months. In the last few weeks, the state had witnessed a mass campaign for a national ban on the pesticide spearheaded by none other than the state’s 87-year-old chief minister.

Achuthanandan had even sat on a day’s hunger strike here three days ago with this demand. Understandably, the state which observed a shutdown on Friday on a call by the ruling LDF received the news of the global ban with a sense of fulfilment.
“The decision in Geneva is the victory of the people against the pesticide lobby. It was our unflinching resistance that forced the Centre to change its pro-endosulfan stand at the last minute, leading to the ban,’’ he said.

Endosulfan is believed to have been the single reason for the unusually large number of babies born with physical deformities and neurological disorders in parts of Kasargod in the last 20 years.

Investigations pointed out that the aerial spraying of endosulfan for 20 years since 1970 in the cashew plantations owned by the state-owned Plantation Corporation of Kerala may have resulted in the disorders.

Some Karnataka villages adjoining Kasargod have also reported health disorders. Though Kerala had banned the use of the pesticide in 2005 it was not effectively implemented. Karnataka had banned the pesticide recently.

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