The decision to ban 18 pesticides in India brings hope, but it should be extended to include all the pesticides banned/restricted elsewhere and still used in India
Press Release | 10th January 2017
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) India welcomes the decision by Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, to ban manufacture, import, formulate, transport, sell and use of 18 of the 66 pesticides which are still registered for domestic use in India but banned or restricted in one or more other countries due to health and environmental concern. The decision to ban the 18 pesticides came following the ban recommendation given in the report submitted by the expert review committee constituted under the chairmanship of Dr. Anupam Varma and by considering the observation from Registration committee of the Central Insecticide board and Registration committee.
The Anupam Varma committee was constituted in 2013 to review the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in India, but in the same year the mandate of the expert committee was extended to include the 66 pesticides banned or restricted in other countries but continued to be registered for use in India. The expert committee submitted its review report by the end of 2015. The Central Government, after considering the recommendations of the said Expert Committee and after consultation with the Registration Committee satisfied that the use of 18 pesticides are likely to involve risk to human beings and animals as to render it expedient or necessary to take immediate action.
Though it is considered as a good move from the central agriculture department to ban the 18 pesticides, exclusion of the remaining 48 pesticides, in the list of 66 pesticides is need to be relooked urgently. PAN India director C. Jayakumar, while responding to the notification on draft Banning of Pesticides Order, 2016 issued by Ministry of agriculture on 15thDecember 2016 [Notification S.O.4212 (E) dated 15thDecember 2016 (F.No.13035/31/2013-PP-I)], says ‘it is unfair and a failure of governance that Indian government allows the use of hazardous pesticides that are either banned or restricted in other countries over health and environmental impacts’. He pointed that while the decision to ban 18 of the 66 pesticides is an appreciable move from the government, allowing the use of remaining 48 pesticides cannot be justified as there is more than enough information available on their hazardous nature and harms it can cause to people and the country. It may be because of the pressure from the industry that the government is unable to take a decision to ban the entire 66 pesticides. ‘In effect, the government is actually promoting the use of such hazardous pesticides and thereby continuing to put farming communities and consumers in India to innumerable health and environmental risks’, he added.
Mr. Jayakumar also pointed out that it is unfortunate that the list of 18 pesticides does not include paraquat dichloride, a highly hazardous herbicide already banned in the South Indian State of Kerala; and is used in remaining part of India. Paraquat is a candidate for the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) list of Rotterdam Convention. The use of paraquat is banned or disallowed in at least 32 countries including members of European Union due to its adverse health effects. In Switzerland, the home country of Syngenta, the main producer of paraquat, it is banned since 1989 due to its high acute toxicity for humans.
Dr Narasimha Reddy of PAN India says government should release the report submitted by the AnupamVarma Committee for public scrutiny. Glyphosate, a widely used herbicide is not there in the list of 18 pesticides; the World Health organisation recently classified it as a carcinogenic chemical. Dr. Reddy stressed that the government should come up and show its commitment to the people of India by immediately banning all the pesticides that are already banned or restricted in other countries and continue to register in India and safeguard communities from the hazardous effects of such pesticides. Also the government should initiate a process to review all other pesticides registered for use in India for its health and environmental toxicity and come up with firm actions to protect human health and environment.
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