Move to ban 27 pesticides hailed

Centre issues draft order; seeks comments and suggestions

May 21, 2020 10:11 pm | Updated May 23, 2020 08:38 pm IST - HYDERABAD

The Pesticide Action Network (PAN) India has welcomed the draft order issued by the Centre banning 27 pesticides, which are already banned in several other countries, in the country.

Appreciating the Centre’s move, the network has requested the Agriculture Ministry to review all other pesticides registered in India with the same criteria used for assessing the 27 chemicals and issue stringent regulatory measures including possible ban of more hazardous pesticides.

In a statement, director of PAN India Jayakumar Chelaton, consultant Narasimha Reddy Donthi and assistant director Dileep Kumar said the Agriculture Ministry has issued a draft order intending to ban 27 pesticides on May 14 and sought comments and suggestions from those who are likely to be affected by the decision. The notification has stated that an expert committee set up by the Minister has recommended that 66 insecticides/pesticides banned or withdrawn in other countries continue to be used in India and 27 of them involve risk to humans and animals.

The network functionaries said the 27 listed pesticides are highly hazardous with potential to cause severe health problems such as hormonal changes, carcinogenic, neurotoxic, reproductive and developmental health effects as well as environmental impacts such as toxic to bees. Many of them also reported to have data deficient for regulatory purposes and better alternatives are available for all of them.

The list of pesticides, according to the draft order, proposed to be banned include insecticides, fungicides and weedicides: 2,4-D, acephate, atrazine, benfuracarb, butachlor, captan, carbendazin, carbofuran, chlorpyriphos, deltamethrin, dicofol, dimethoate, dinocap, diuron, malathion, mancozeb, methimyl, monocrotophos, oxyfluorfen, pendimethalin, quninalphos, sulfosulfuron, thiodicarb, thiophante methyl, thiram, zineb and ziram.

Some of them are already addressed by State-level regulations/bans in India. Monocrotophos was banned briefly by Adilabad District Collector and Ooty District Collector due to rampant illegal use and toxicity potential on food, environment and farmers in 2019. In 2018, Punjab had sought to review licenses and not to issue fresh licenses for 2,4-D, benfuracarb, dicofl, methomyl and monocrotophos, which are among the 27 listed pesticides for banning by the Centre.

Maharashtra prohibited monocrotophos and acephate in 2017 as they were implicated in the high-incidence of pesticides-poisoning among cotton farming community and Kerala has already banned monocrotophos, carbofuran, atrazine and a few others back in 2011, the PAN India functionaries said quoting the draft order and requested the Centre to ban all the 27 pesticides without any delay.

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