Ban sale of toxic pesticides: “We The Human” make appeal to the Governor

Jammu, Dec 23: Welcoming a number of people friendly initiatives taken by Sh. Satyapal Malik, the Governor of J&K, “We The Human” – Forum For Nature and Mankind, a registered charitable trust working for conservation of environment, in a press conference organized at press club Jammu, made an appeal to the Governor to ban sale of toxic pesticides, insecticides of Class I category in the state. Retired Principal District & Session Judge K Y S Manhas, Capt. Lalit Sharma IFS, S. Prem Singh, M. Sadiq Nargal Food Technologist, CSIR-IIM Consultant K K Sharma, Advocate Sahib Aggarwal, Mushtaq Ahmed Shah, S K Arora, Farmers’ leader Ashwani Sharma, Mohinder Kumar, Anil Bhat, Inder Parihar, B D Chowdhary, Naresh Verma, Seema Parihar, Narender Jasrotia were among other members of the trust present on the occasion.
Addressing the journalists, K Y S Manhas Vice Chairman of Executive Body of the trust said that recently, Punjab Government banned sale of 20 pesticides/insecticides viz. Phosphamidion, Mathomyl, Phorate, Triazophos, Monocrotophos along with several other class I pesticides. These toxic class I pesticides are categorized into extremely hazardous (class IA) and highly hazardous (Class IB) to human health by the World Health Organization and are banned in many countries. Phosphamidion is banned in 49 countries, Phorate in 37 countries, Trizophos in 40 countries and Monocrotophos in 60 countries as per report published by CSE (Centre for Science & Environment) a nonprofit public interest research and advocacy organization based in New Delhi, India. In Jammu and Kashmir the use of toxic chemical pesticides is very high: even higher than its usage in Punjab & Haryana. Punjab and Haryana, taking lessons from past catastrophe caused due to excessive use of toxic chemical pesticides consumption, have taken number of strict measures resulting in a declining trend in pesticides consumption.
M. Sadiq Nargal Food Technologist said that very few among us may be ignorant about daily Abhor-Jodhpur passenger train which is named by locals as ‘Cancer Train’, running between Bathinda & Bikaner; The poor patients mostly the farmers and their family members suffering from Cancer disease as a result of the adverse impact of ‘Green Revolution’ on public health in Punjab, especially in Punjab’s Malwa region (the cotton belt) travel to Acharya Tulsi Regional Cancer Treatment and Research Center Bikaner for undergoing free of cost treatment for Cancer. As a bad impact of Green Revolution, Cancer and other serious health problems including neuro disorders among newly born children entered into Punjab farmer’s homes and took shape of epidemic since 1990’s. As per a report published by P. Indra Devi, Judy Thomas and Rajesh K Raju, Scientist of Center of Excellence in Environmental Economics, College of Horticulture, Kerala Agricultural University with regard to pesticide consumption, Jammu and Kashmir has the highest per hector pesticides consumption i.e. 2.337 kg per hectare of grass cropped area. As a report published by Abdul Rashid Bhat, Mohd, Afzal Wani, A R Kirmani, T H Raina deptt. of neuro surgery Sher -e- Kashmir Institute of Medical Science, Srinagar during the year 2010; for a total orchard area of 0.2 million Hectares, 7750 metric tons of fungicides and 3186 metric tons of insecticides right from march to November every year are sprayed/fogged. Due to excessive use of synthetic pesticides during last four decades, sometimes frequency of unscheduled sprayers by farmers increasing up to 15-20, the prevalence of cancer disease along with brain tumor and other serious diseases has increased drastically in J&K.
Advocate Sahib Aggarwal said that if state like Punjab, highly dependent on pesticides, acts in the interest of public health and bans sale of 20 class I category toxic pesticides/ insecticides following the ban of sale of these toxic chemical pesticides in most of the countries, J&K state govt. should also take initiative to eliminate sale of these highly toxic class I pesticides in Jammu and Kashmir. He also expressed his serious concern over the reports coming from jammu where it has been observed that few agricultural farmers in Jammu belt make spray of chloroperiphos and Aldrine directly on the vegetable crop which is very harmful for people health.
Showing serious concern of pesticides of using insecticides on food items too, Capt. Lalit Sharma IFS said that a number of toxic substances have entered the food chain and bear upon health of the people. Fruits and vegetables are sometimes artificially ripened up using banned chemicals like calcium carbide, oxytoxine, use of ethylene in unpermissible way and more than 100 ppm. Besides this it is observed that daily food items including fruits and vegetables enter Jammu and Kashmir from outside state at Lakhanpur and from Pakistan via Chakan-d-Bagh and Aman Setu without any sample lifting by the Food Control Organization. Lalit Sharma said that Food safety is an important concern and it is the prime responsibility of Food Control Organization to ensure that food items including fruit and vegetarian, which enter the state either from other states of the country or via LOC trade point from POJK, are checked for adulteration, toxic chemicals residues and hygiene. And, samples are lifted on daily basis by the Food Control Organization on random test basis.
S. Prem Singh, spokesman of the trust, demanded that keeping in view people’s health and polluting soil and water bodies, the Governor Satya Pal Malik should deliberate on this serious issue and ban sale of toxic chemical pesticides/insecticides from class I category in Jammu and Kashmir besides issuing directions to the enforcement agencies to ensure restricted sale of chemicals like Chloroperiphos, Aldrine which otherwise are easily available in main markets of Jammu and in many instances. We may not wait till some major catastrophe happens, as we have witnessed in Malwa belt of Punjab, Vidharba region of Maharashtra, Kerala and Karnataka.