The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the Delhi Government to make its laboratories fully-equipped for testing the presence of pesticide residues in samples of vegetables and fruits sold here so that traces of all chemicals can be detected.

A Division Bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul passed the directive when it was informed that the laboratories here have the facilities to test the presence of traces of only 28 categories of pesticides in vegetables and fruits.

The Court had last month directed the Delhi Government and the Union Agriculture Ministry to launch an awareness campaign about the harmful effects of pesticides in fruits and vegetables in the Capital and across the country respectively.

The Court had said that the focus of the awareness campaign should be on wholesale mandis, malls, cinema halls, and retail fruit and vegetable bazaars in colonies and other public places.

The Bench had passed the direction after going through a six-member committee report. The committee was asked to frame guidelines to deal with the presence of pesticide residues in vegetables and fruits across the country.

The Bench has been hearing a suo motu petition in the matter on the basis of a media report alleging presence of poisonous pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables in the Capital.

The committee report quoting a study on use of banned pesticides by the farmers said that the amount of pesticides used in India is as much as 750 times the European standards.

Out of five internationally banned pesticides, four were found to be common in vegetables and fruits, the report said, adding that these pesticides caused headache and affected fertility and can also damage kidney and liver.

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