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Endosulfan: plea to join global fight

Special Correspondent

Experts write to Manmohan


Call for adequate compensation to Endosulfan victims

Say robust scientific proof on impact is available


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An international group of academics and experts working on environmental and developmental issues has demanded an immediate ban on production and use of Endosulfan in India. In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, they urged that India should join the global consensus on the ban of Endosulfan and provide adequate compensation to the Endosulfan victims based on the polluter pays principle.

They noted that India was the only country to have opposed the recommendation of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee of the Stockholm Convention in favour of the global ban on the pesticide.

They said 60 countries had banned this lethal chemical; even the U.S., a non-party to the Stockholm Convention, had committed that it would ban the pesticide following a detailed study of its environmental risks by the Environmental Protection Agency in June 2010.

“India has more convincing reasons to ban the pesticide and support an international ban. The mortality and gruesome morbidity in Kasaragod district, resulting from two decades of aerial spraying of Endosulfan in the cashew plantations, are compelling enough for India to stand for the ban of this lethal chemical. The tragic congenital deformities, widespread prevalence of cancer, blindness among children, mental growth retardation, hydrocephalus (enlargement of head) etc. in the villages subjected to Endosulfan spraying have been studied by India's National Institute of Occupational Health and determined these as the result of two decades of aerial spraying of the pesticide.”

They noted the Endosulfan tragedy had been repeated in the Belthangady taluk of Dakshina Kannada district in Karnataka. Twenty years of Endosulfan spraying, two times a year, by the Karnataka Cashew Corporation had affected a large number of people.

“Ample robust scientific evidence is available in numerous countries, including India, that shows the lethal health and environmental impact of Endosulfan. Stockholm Convention POPRC's risk management evaluation, conducted by an inter-governmental expert committee, found Endosulfan to be highly toxic to humans, persistent and bio-accumulative,” they added.

Signitories

The signatories are S. Faizi, Chairman, Indian Biodiversity Forum, Thiruvananthapuram; Dhrubajyoti Ghosh, Regional Vice-Chairman, South Asia IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management, Kolkata; D.P.S. Verma, former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests; Waheeda Khan, Professor, Department of Psychology, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi; T.K. Raman, retired District and Sessions Judge, Kozhikode; Stephen Aitken, Managing Editor, Biodiversity, Tropical Conservancy, Ottawa, Canada; Antonio M. Claparols, President, Ecological Society of the Philippines, Makati City, Philippines; Francois Meienberg, Joint Managing Director, Berne Declaration, Zurich, Switzerland; Maurizio Farhan Ferrari, Forest Peoples Programme, Moreton-in-Marsh, England; and Raj Kurup, Adjunct Professor, UWA and University of Missouri, Perth, Australia.

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