Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Govt not for ban on Endosulfan?

Endosulphan PptKasaragod in north Kerala is home to thousands of people with severe neurological and congenital deformities. Years of exposure to endosulfan, aerially sprayed on cashew plantations is said to be the reason.

The Union government is not convinced that endosulfan is harmful even though a 2002 study by the government's National Institute of Occupational Health pointed out the harmful effects.

At the Stockholm convention in October last year, as opposed to 61 other countries, India was the only country to oppose endosulfan inclusion in annexure 'A' of Persistent Organic Chemicals. Its argument was that no adverse health has been associated/reported despite its widespread use all over the country.

The industry and farmers argue that endosulfan is an economic imperative for the Indian farmer as it is the cheapest and most effective pesticide. Alternatives will be 10 times more expensive, they say.

"I have been using it (endosulfan) for years. It may have some harmful effects but then it works like no other pesticide. We need it," said Ramu, a farmer.

As India accounts for 70 per cent of the world production and consumption of endosulfan, the question now is will the government weigh the price of health and safety against commercial utility?