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NGOs criticise govt inaction in preventing use of pesticides

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 25 (UNI) Citizens groups today lashed out at the government for its inaction in preventing the use of highly hazardous class I pesticides in agriculture.

Speaking at a seminar on the impact of environmental toxification, on health Environmental NGOs like Centre For Science and Environment (CSE) and Toxic Link said that while the government had stopped registration of any new pesticides in the class I category, it was alarmingly inactive in the prevetion of use of the existing class I pesticides.

They demanded complete phasing out of this category of chemicals and suggested implementation of alternative methods of agriculture.

They said that according to the data released by the Cental government, on an average, 8300 cases of pesticide poisoning were reported during 2000-2003 and more than 1600 people died due to pesticide poisoning in 2000-2001. However, the data released by the government was a gross underrepresentation of existing ground realities and estimations done by independent research institutions showed a very different picture, they added.

A research paper by James Leigh published in Epidemiology showed that there were 5000 to 10000 deaths in Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh due to agricultural activities.

Accoring to the CSE, about 28 per cent of the total pesticides currently used in the country are World Health Organisation (WHO) class I a and I B (highly hazardous) pesticides, 37 per cent are class II (moderately hazardous) pesticides.

They pointed out that a book by noted agricultural scientists G S Dhaliwal and Balwinder Singh highlighted that 20 per cent of food commodities tested in India had pesticide content exceeding maximum residue levels and in some states like Kerala and UP, this percentage was as high as 46 to 53 per cent.

CSE estimated the theoretical daily minimum intake of pesticides of eight widely used pesticides in India which they said exceeded the acceptable daily intake by 622 per cent to 173 per cent.

''The laws and regulations in the country of dealing with pesticides are insufficient and have fundamental lacunae,'' they added and stressed that the way pesticides were registered and used and the pesticide standards on food commodities were set, regulated and enforced in India put a big question mark on the current policy and regulatory regime in ensuring health and safety of the population.


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