Forest Minister Benoy Viswom on Friday urged the Union Minister of State for Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh to ban manufacture, sale and use of Endosulfan in the country.
Mr. Viswom noted in a letter to the Union Minister that the State had constituted an expert team to assess the loss caused to the local environment because of the use of the chemical pesticide and the study was in progress. Even then, the chemical was being used in the neighbouring States and other parts of the country and that badly affected the border areas of the State.
“At this juncture, I would request you to immediately intervene in this matter and do all the needful to ban the use of Endosulfan in the country,” he wrote.
The Minister said the pesticide that caused such misery in Kerala had been banned or phased out from almost all countries in the world, and it was being seriously considered as a candidate persistent organic pollutant under the Stockholm Convention. Many studies had come up, consequent to the tragedy in Kasaragod district, that clearly showed the extreme toxic nature of the chemical.
India, being one of the countries affected by the chemical and considering its heritage as an environmental steward, should take the initiative to get Endosulfan phased out of the world. It should represent its case for a global phase out of this killer pesticide in the review committee of Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants to be convened at Geneva later this month, Mr. Viswom added.
He recalled that the chemical, used indiscriminately in the cashew plantations in Kasaragod district for years, had caused serious and chronic illness, which forced the Kerala High Court to intervene in the matter in 2002. Following that, the State government had banned its sale and use in the State.
Pursuant to the studies and survey conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Directorate of Health Services of Kerala, the State had started a number of interventions to remediate and rehabilitate the victims, most of whom are chronically ill cases whose ailments manifest even years after the spraying was discontinued.