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Thread: India bows to the powerful pesticide lobby

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    Default India bows to the powerful pesticide lobby

    When most of the countries have banned endosulfan, India Govt. is not willing to do so bowing to the pressures of the powerful pesticide lobby. This is despite number of studies documenting the effect of endosulfan on our flora and fauna. Sharing this article that had appeared in the Times of India.

    India bats for endosulfan as world calls for a blanket ban
    Jayashree Nandi, TNN, Nov 5, 2010, 02.48am IST

    India's vultures appear to be making a tentative comeback but their killer is very much in circulation and will continue to be. While the global community proposed a ban on the use of endosulfan globally at the Stockholm Convention of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee in Geneva last month, India opposed the move, saying there was not enough evidence to prove the health and environmental impacts of the insecticide.

    India being the largest producer and user of endosulfan in the world, dependence on this highly toxic insecticide has now led the agriculture ministry to call for a technical review of its impacts on health and ecology.

    "We have not been in favour of a ban simply because several committees earlier had reviewed the experience with endosulfan and had observed that its use can be continued," said Pankaj Kumar, joint secretary (plant protection) in the department of agriculture and cooperation. "There are fresh developments everyday and fresh evidence is submitted. Before we can agree to a ban, there has to be proper scientific inquiry. The registration committee under the insecticides act has to review the matter and only if endosulfan proves unsafe, it can make a recommendation."

    The delegation that was also represented by the MoEF is currently documenting key issues of conflict. "India had conflicting views over the use of several chemicals. The use of endosulfan is put on hold in Kerala due to the peculiar health impacts that were seen after aerial spraying in cashew plantations. But in all other states, the approved manner of usage is being followed and there is nothing to worry," Kumar added.

    Additional director (MoEF) Chhanda Chowdhury, who attended the convention, told TOI that India had been maintaining the same stand for the past four years and there was no question of backing a ban this time around either. This, when member nations of the convention concluded: "Taking into account that a lack of full scientific certainty should not prevent a proposal from proceeding, that endosulfan is likely, as a result of its long-range environmental transport, to lead to significant adverse human health and environmental effects such that global action is warranted..."

    Environmental activists say a nexus of the government with the insecticide lobby has led to a stern stand not to move away from these toxic insecticides. "There is a lot of public literature in India and globally to prove the impact of POPs like endosulfan. It is only because of a collusion with these companies that the government is ignoring stark disasters, as in Kasargod, where so many are killed and even disabled," said G V Ramanjaneyulu, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture. The Kerala government had, in fact, written to the Centre ahead of the Geneva meet, demanding that it take a stand in support of a ban. Cases of physical deformity, endocrine disruption and impact on reproductive development have been widely reported in Kerala and Dakshin Kannada, in particular.

    According to the health risks submitted by various members at the Stockholm Convention, endosulfan can be genotoxic ie capable of causing genetic mutation. Assessments conducted by the EU, Canada and US concluded that endosulfan was not carcinogenic but some studies found that exposure to even sub-lethal doses of endosulfan and its metabolites induce DNA damage and mutation.

    Strangely, endosulfan is still widely used in ecological and biodiversity hotspots, such as the Western Ghats. In the latest meeting of the Western Ghats Ecology Panel, the Central Pollution Control Board ( CPCB) chairman has been asked for a technical report on the implications of the use of endosulfan.

    "Endosulfan belongs to the organochlorine group of pesticides such as DDT. These remain in the soil for a very long time. Endosulfan is known to cause endocrine disruption and has neuro-toxic impacts. It is only the huge manufacturers' lobby that is stopping the government from taking stringent measures. Also, it is a cost-effective medium which deals with a broad spectrum of pests," said P K Shetty, professor at National Institute of Advanced Studies, who has been conducting field surveys on the use of toxic pesticides and their impact on farmers.

    The source article can be found here: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/h...ow/6874128.cms

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    This is really sad. I thought we are one of the worst affected countries. Considering the multiple ways in which this poison can affect our children, our lives, our health, nature and economy this move can be disastrous. Only a corrupt and criminally shortsighted country like ours will stand up for this in a global forum.God help us with this kind of leaders.....

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