A member of parliament proposes to ban endosulfan in India
Nov. 16, 2010
The demand was raised by Mr M.P. Veerendra Kumar, Member of Parliament, while making a case for banning the use of endosulfan in India, as 60-odd countries have chosen to do.
He said the Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Prof K. V. Thomas, should have checked facts before coming out with a recent statement in this regard.
Prof Thomas had stated that an inquiry committee had not attributed deaths and mysterious illnesses in Kasaragode plantations to aerial spraying of endosulfan.
But studies have proved otherwise, Mr Kumar said.
Exposure to low levels of endosulfan has shown effects on kidneys, foetus, and liver, from studies conducted on animals. It harms aquatic systems and is highly toxic to fish, birds, bees and wildlife.
The Regional Remote Sensing Service Centre (RRSSC), Bangalore, had done a satellite mapping of Padre, the worst-hit village.
It has 12 streams originating from the plantations in the hills. Any aerially sprayed toxicant would reach the soil-water-plant continuum in a short span of time.
The ‘surangams, from which the local people draw water, are cut deep into the hills forming the plantations. These are also prone to contamination by chemicals applied in the estates.
The RRSSC concluded that the pollutants brought down through runoff or seepage tend to get accumulated in the soil.
Standing crops may act as a store through which the toxicant enters the target organisms (including humans).
The Ahmedabad-based National Institute of Occupational health team had conducted an epidemiological study on exposed and controlled groups in 2001 in Vani Nagar, Padre.
It had concluded that ‘endosulfan was a causative factor for health problems and deducted residues of endosulfan in soil, water as well as human blood samples.
Families of those afflicted have expressed their resolve not to co-operate in any more studies, since none so far have done them any tangible good. Their demands are simple, Mr Kumar said.
Any team that enumerates the afflicted should diagnose each case separately, prescribe a course of treatment according to various systems of medicine, and cover all costs of the treatment.
This, in effect, means that they will have time only for a team of multi-disciplinary doctors, not the usual mix of agronomists, activists, environmentalists and NGOs.
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