Mounting pressure on India to ban Endosulfan

Endosulfan is already banned by 81 countries and Indian states of Kerala and Karnataka, but the national government of India is still not convinced to ban the use and manufacture of this deadly pesticide nation-wide! Since 1976 continued aerial spray of Endosulfan has led close to 9,000 deaths, and nearly 4,800 bed ridden patients with sever physical and mental deformities in State of Kerala alone, said National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM). But even then the government fails to listen to this. One wonders whose interests Indian government is protecting, asks NAPM.

NAPM and its allies strongly condemn this unabashed advocacy and protection of the corporate interests by the government of India. The strong lobby of Pesticides Manufacturers and Formulators Association of India (PMFAI) is opposing this ban on the grounds that EU companies want to sell their pesticides by enforcing ban on generic production of cheap Endosulfan. On face of it they seem to be so concerned by the costs Indian farmers have to pay for the pesticides but the damage Endosulfan is causing is irreversible. Endosulfan is only one side of the story since the strong pesticide lobby has interests in farmers seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and everything which farmers and communities own - land, water, seeds, knowledge and most importantly market. It is unfortunate that the Ministry of Agriculture which should be concerned about the deteriorating climate for agriculture in the country is advocating on behalf of the industry and supporting genetically modified (GM) seeds to deadly pesticides like Endosulfan, said NAPM.

The life of citizens and the natural resources of this country are far more important than the profits which companies will make at our cost. NAPM further says: PMFAI claims that the new chemicals to be sold by European manufacturers cost 10 times as much and "will be damaging to the farm ecosystem as most of these are known to be harmful to pollinators such has honeybees". We would like to ask that why Indian manufactures and Ministry of Environment is not worried about the ill impacts of the Endosulfan. There are ample amounts of physical and scientific evidence available of the dangerous impacts on human and other beings of Endosulfan, a highly toxic organochlorine pesticide but even then they refuse to accept such. This is completely unfortunate, said NAPM.

Indian government and its various ministries will do well by not hiding behind the 'poor' and own up to the liability they have incurred due to irreversible damages to populace in Kasargod, Idukki, Palakkad, Dakshin Kannada, Kodagu and Udupi. NAPM demands reparation from the government and criminal action against the pesticides companies.

NAPM strongly supports the demands of the Endosulfan Protest Action Committee, Kasargod (Endosulfan Virudha Samara Samithi) :
- A permanent ban on Endosulfan all over the country before the Stockholm Conference.
- Proper relief, rehabilitation and compensation to the survivors of Endosulfan.
- Severe action including criminal prosecution of the corporates, central and state government authorities who were responsible for causing and continuing to cause irreversible health disaster on the victims and their families,
- A complete review and assessment on the use of chemical pesticides in India by unbiased researchers.
- A permanent ban of all dangerous chemical pesticides which are already banned in other countries and which have a potential of serious public health and ecological disasters, Issues of Safety and Biosafety be given priority over commercial interest.

Government of India has a golden opportunity in the Stockholm Conference to lead by example and announce a ban and actively support other countries which are considering ban. The need is to invest in research and development of organic pesticides and not the deadly ones which remain in the environment for a long time.

The statement from NAPM was signed by noted senior social activist and Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar, Magsaysay Awardee Dr Sandeep Pandey, P Chennaiah, Geo Josh, Hussain Master, Gabriele Dietrich, Sister Celia and Madhuresh Kumar.

Published in:
Citizen News Service (CNS), India/Thailand
Elites TV News, California, USA
The States Times, Jammu & Kashmir
Wikio News, UK, India

1 comment:

  1. "Though banned in Kerala, endosulfan is being smuggled into the state through porous borders. Unlike other countries that will have to comply with the ban within a year, the exemption allows India to phase out endosulfan over five years. It can extend the exemption period by five years if alternative to the pesticides are not found. Besides, under Annex A listing, the ban takes a year to become effective, which means, on paper, India can extend the phasing out process for 11 years. “This is like a post-dated cheque,” says Gopal Krishna of Toxic Watch Alliance, an advocacy group in Delhi.

    Both human and environmental health will continue to be affected as long as the phase out takes place. Besides, there is no clarity as to who would suggest the alternatives to endosulfan and whether India is even looking for an organic, safer alternative, says B Ekbal of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, a civil society group. If a banned pesticide has to be replaced with another pesticide it is of no use, he adds.

    The phase-out process will begin only after the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) ratifies the decision. Though environment minister Jairam Ramesh guided India through the tactical shift at the convention and could speed up phase-out, he is not a part of the CCEA. The fear is Sharad Pawar, the Union agriculture minister, who is a supporter of the pesticide lobby and part of CCEA, could delay both the ratification and phasing out process."