(Press note issued at Bangalore Press Club on 1st March 2011, Tuesday)
The Karnataka State Government’s decision to ban Endosulfan, the deadly pesticide for 60 days , though belated, is a right step. We welcome this decision. It is worth noting here that Kerala State has already banned Endosulfan permanently.
More than 70 countries across the Globe have already banned production, sales and usage of Endosulfan. India’s opposition to ban the same pesticide, even after getting a clear idea about its ill effects is highly condemnable.
Many reports and studies have decidedly declared that thousands of people in Kasargod (Kerala), Puttur, Vitla and other places in Karnataka are suffering from various physical and mental diseases as a result of exposure to Endosulfan. This particular area came under aerial spray of an amount of 50 thousand Litres of Endosulfan since 1980 onwards. One cannot forget the advertisements in print media stating that “No live stock, including goats, sheep and other animals and birds shall not be given entry in these sprayed cashew farms for 10 days after the spray, as this is a highly poisonous pesticide” by a Deputy Conservator of Forests during those period.
Now people in more than 25 villages in this area (Kokkada, Patrame, Nidle, Medinadka, Veerakamba, Ilantila, Karaya, Kunturu, Koyla, Vital, Kedambadi, Savanuru, Kaniyuru, Bajetturu, Aitturu, Mallangal, Belal, Sampaje, Kalloni, Kukkanduru, Nekkiladi, Koyyuru, Alankaru, Nelyadi, Suvarmale, Taneerupantha, Hirebandadi etc.,) are severely affected by Endosulfan. Karnataka Government has distributed a compensation package for these victims.
There is no stuff in the argument of Endosulfan manufacturing companies that Endosulfan is not a deadly poison as has been made out by experts. Dr. Ravindranath Shanbhag who is present in this press meet, was part of a well documented laboratory study where in Endosulfan was used to induce sperm abnormalities in rats, and the scientists also found out ways and means to rectify this.
USA has banned Endosulfan based on EPA reports. Australia and Canada have banned it recently, and Brazil and South Korea have followed the ban. All these bans have scientific studies to support the ban. Sri Lanka, where 16% economy is from Tea Industry, has banned Endosulfan, and there is no fall in the Tea production. One cannot comprehend why India, where Tea forms only a much smaller part of the economy when compared to Srilanka of economy, is hesitating to ban Endosulfan.
The other argument by Endosulfan Companies that there is a hidden agenda being played by European Union is baseless. The discussion to ban the usage of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) is being done as a global exercise as part of Stockholm Convention, to which India is also a signatory. This is an United Nations organization and the decision of UN set up the Stockholm convention with 172 countries to the convention as parties .
The effect of Endosulfan is a point of discussion and not the quantum of usage, as argued by the Endosulfan companies. These companies are misguiding the Governments and people by making false statements, which we strongly condemn.
Endosulfan particles enter the fetus, are seen in breast milk and they cause Brain Edema, Convulsion, Lung Congestion, Respiratory Paralysis, Lever necrosis, hyperglycemia, congestion of kidney tubules, neurotoxicity and cancer and affect the immune system greatly. We are ready to share all these scientific papers with anybody interested to study more.
We hereby demand the following in this press meet:
- Karnataka State Government should ban Endosulfan permanently using all the legal means.
- Karnataka State Government should form a committee comprising of social workers and experts to conduct a thorough census of victims of Endosulfan in various districts of the State and document its findings. It should also establish a special cell to provide permanent rehabilitation to the victims. This cell should have a helpline facility. Recently, (Dec 2010 – Jan 2011)Kerala Government conducted a similar health survey in a particular area, and found out that out of 15600 patients, 3450 patients had various serious diseases as a result of Endosulfan.
- Karnataka Government should come out with a policy making polluter to pay for the pollution and its effects.
- Farmers can opt for various alternatives available, be it Integrated Pest Management, bio-pesticides, Organic farming etc., Government and NGOs should play a role in propagating these methods. We are ready to share all the information and guidance available on these alternatives.
- Several other dangerous pesticides have entered into our flora and fauna, and also our body. Karnataka Government should undertake a wide study of this issue. Since GoK has supported Organic Farming, it should educate people on not using chemical pesticides through awareness programmes.
- The Government of India, instead of studying the available reports against Endosulfan, is rejecting the Stockholm documents, which is strange. We urge the Indian Government to participate in the April 2011 meeting on POPs and support the ban on Endosulfan.
- Media has been covering this issue in an objective manner. We request media to come out with more and more such field reports on Endosulfan.
- Endosulfan manufacturing companies have resorted to anonymous blogging in internet in support of Endosulfan, which shows how desperate they are. We alert the media and people to be aware of this trend.
|Dr Ravindranath Shanbhag
Director,V.K.Virani Pharma Researh Centre, Amreli,Gujarath
|Dr. Mohammad Asheel
Assistant Nodal Officer, Endosulfan Rehabilitation Programme
Government of Kerala
Trustee, THANAL, TRIVENDRUM, Kerala
Executive Director, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture
Editor, Adike Patrike
Earliest journalist to find Endosulfan ill effects
Journalist, SULIKERE VILLAGE
|A S Ananda
Chairman, Organic Farming Mission, Govt of Karnataka
|Y B Ramakrishna
Chairman, Karnataka State Biofuel Development Board, Govt of Karnataka
Sahaja Samrudhdha, Organic Farming Organisation, BANGALORE
Journalist, Mitramaadhyama, BANGALORE