Responding to a public outcry over the disastrous consequences of the use of Endosulfan in different parts of the State, particularly in villages of Kasaragod district, the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB) has banned the use of the dreaded insecticide across the State.
An official press note issued by the PCB late on Friday evening said Endosulfan was being banned in the entire State under the provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 in view of the apprehensions of the people that aerial spraying of Endosulfan in the cashew plantations of Kasaragod district had led to health problems identified there and on finding the presence of Endosulfan in the water and sediment samples collected by the PCB from the Shiriya river and nearby watercourses.
Violation of the ban would attract imprisonment for a maximum period of six years and fine, the PCB notification said.
Amidst the clamour for a Central decision on banning the use of Endosulfan, it had been pointed out that the State government was well within its rights to do so. The decision of the PCB shows that this is indeed the case, but the enforcement of the ban will depend on the efficacy with which the State Agriculture Department clamps down on outlets selling the chemical insecticide. The Agriculture Department will have to revoke the licences issued for sale of Endosulfan and ensure that the insecticide is not sold in any part of the State.
The PCB had first swung into action in respect of Kasaragod district in 2001 asking the Plantation Corporation of Kerala (PCK) to suspend aerial spraying of Endosulfan in its estates until a health study was conducted. On December 7, 2004, the PCB suspended aerial spraying of Endosulfan in Kasaragod district until a final decision was taken in the matter. The PCK did not make any study results available to the PCB. However, monitoring conducted by the PCB in 2008-10 showed the presence of Endosulfan in the water samples collected from the areas of aerial spraying and hence the decision to ban use of Endosulfan across the State.
PCB sources told The Hindu that local bodies and Krishi Bhavans would be alerted to the need for preventing use of Endosulfan so that the ban remained effective across the State.