The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the Delhi Government and the Union Agriculture Ministry to launch an awareness campaign about the harmful effects of pesticide residue in fruits and vegetable in the Capital and across the country respectively.

Passing the direction, a Division Bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul said the focus of the campaign should be wholesale mandis, malls, cinema halls, retails fruit and vegetable bazaars in colonies and other public places.

The Bench said the governments should use printed material as well as audio and video modes to spread awareness among consumers about the hazards of pesticides.

It was hearing a suo motu petition in the matter following a media report alleging presence of poisonous residue of pesticides in fruits and vegetables being sold in the Capital. The judges passed the direction after going through the report of a six-member committee, set up by the Union Government under agriculture scientist Sarita Bhalla.

The committee report, quoting a study on use of banned pesticides by farmers, said that the amount of pesticides used in India was up to 750 times the European standards.

Of five internationally banned pesticides, traces of four were found in fruits and vegetables here, the report said. These pesticides cause headache, affect fertility and damage kidneys and liver, the report added.

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