Process to detoxify endosulfan begins

The State government has begun efforts to detoxify 304 litres of endosulfan stored in heavy-duty polythene drums imported from Japan at Thathemangalam, near Mannarkkad.

It was two weeks ago that the banned pesticide kept in corroded barrels at a Plantation Corporation of Kerala (PCK) godown was transferred into the drums.

The drums from Mannarkkad will be detoxified as per international standards after taking them out of the State, along with 1,600 litres of endosulfan kept in a similar condition at Kasaragod. A total of 1,904 litres of the pesticide has to be removed from the State.

The move is aimed at making Kerala completely free from the grip of endosulfan by the beginning of next year. The Endosulfan Victims Rehabilitation Cell, formed by the State government, has started the process of shortlisting agencies capable of detoxifying the pesticide.

Interest shown

Agencies in Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat have evinced interest in disposing of the pesticide.

The agency with a suitable proposal will be selected, and the process will be completed in another three weeks.

The track record of the agency, its adherence to safety parameters, and cost involved are the main parameters in selecting the agency, officials with the cell said.

Expression of interests will be sought and a government order issued soon.

Samples collected

The cell has collected eight samples each of the pesticide from both Kasaragod and Mannarkkad to be kept at the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology in Coimbatore for further research and for handing over to interested agencies.

The government is keen on completing the whole process under the supervision of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. Experts from various Central government research institutions will oversee the detoxification.

'The selected agency has to work under the close vigil of these experts.

“Our aim is to conduct the whole process in a transparent and effective manner by avoiding any more exposure of human beings to the killer pesticide. We hope it will be completed by the beginning of January,” Mohammed Asheel, nodal officer of the cell, said.

Agencies being shortlisted

Endosulfan stock in Kasaragod too