Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Interesting, if it was not a cruel joke - the continuing saga of Endosulphan

According to a Hindu Report, "Centre has asked the Supreme Court to allow the use of pesticide endosulfan in all States except Kerala and Karnataka, as these States are ready to use it for agricultural pest control."

I don't understand what forced central government to take such a stand on endosulphan when the sad saga of Kerala and Karnataka's experience with endosulfan already played more than enough time before the world.

The reasons are indeed ridicules. The report continues,

"the cost of disposal of live stock of endosulfan by incineration shall be more than Rs.210.82 crore, whereas phasing out would not only result in saving this huge amount on disposal but would also save the product worth Rs.31.36 lakh, which would contribute to increased crop production/productivity"

"24 countries are still using endosulfan"

"in India too use of several pesticides was banned in the past and the live stocks thereof were allowed to be disposed of by phasing out. Of the 19 States which participated in the meeting convened by the expert committee, except Kerala and Karnataka, other States were in favour of [the] continued use of endosulfan for the reasons being broad spectrum, cheaper, most popular among farmers, safe to pollinations, no reports of resistance/resurgence or ill effects on human beings, animals and environment. Thus, States other than Kerala and Karnataka are ready to use endosulfan for agricultural pest control."

For those who are not familiar with this chemical let me tell you some facts related to endosulphan. A global ban on manufacturing and use of this chemical was negotiated under Stockholm convention in 2011, more than 80 countries including EU, US, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada etc are already banned or announced phase outs. (#2)

I don’t understand how the representatives from other states agreed to the use of endosulphan there. More interesting is the fact that central government itself agrees on phasing out. If endosulphan was as good as described by central government then why we need a phase out it in the first place? Why many countries in the world already banned its use?

It may be better to spent money on disposing the existing stock instead of repeating what happened in Kerala and Karnataka on other states. For the existing stocks government can negotiate with industry and reach a compensation formula. We don’t explode bombs in populated areas as a means of disposal, do we?



1. 'Allow use of endosulfan except in Kerala and Karnataka’-The Hindu
2. EPA Action to Terminate Endosulfan - EPA
2. Endosulfan - Wikipedia
3. India's chemical nightmare - Guardian
4. Bayer to stop selling endosulfan - ABC

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