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Nation Current Affairs 01 Dec 2016 Al Jazeera documenta ...

Al Jazeera documentary features pesticide-hit Kasargod

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | AMIYA MEETHAL
Published Dec 1, 2016, 8:14 am IST
Updated Dec 1, 2016, 8:18 am IST
Reveals pesticide banned in the US is manufactured only to be exported to 25 countries.
A screenshot from the documentary.
 A screenshot from the documentary.

KOZHIKODE: Endosulfan hit Kasargod has been featured in a documentary of Al Jazeera titled, Circle of Poison. It reveals that the pesticide is banned in the US in 2010 but still manufactured only to be exported to 25 countries around the world. The documentary spans India, US, Argentina, Mexico and Bhutan probing how the toxic pesticides are being imposed on developing countries.

It argues that the pesticide residue is returning to the dining table of US in the form of imported tea, coffee, vegetables, etc. from these developing countries. Only a meagre two percent of imported produce is inspected by the Food and Drug Administration in the US and thus a ‘Circle of Poison’. “Anything that was banned or heavily regulated or restricted in the US was being allowed by the US government and in fact encouraged to be sent overseas, almost as compensation for the companies for losing the US market,” reveals David Weir, a journalist and co-author of ‘Circle of Poison: Pesticides and People in a Hungry World’ in the documentary.

 

Noted activist Vandana Shiva points out that pesticides were pushed on the grounds that it’s a very modern way to do farming. “Years ago, it was being said that India was underdeveloped as it doesn’t use pesticides,” says she. The documentary, made by Evan Mascagni and Shannon Post, sheds light on three individual victims of Kasargod who are suffering from cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus and other deformities. The catastrophe pesticide has been caused in Yaqui river valley in Mexico, Ituzaingó in Argentina and Louisiana in the US is narrated.

It praises the fight of small farmers around the world against the pesticide lobby through sustainable methods of agriculture. An excellent model was set by Bhutan becoming the first country with a wholly organic agricultural system, says the documentary. Former US president Jimmy Carter, thinker Noam Chomsky, US politician Patrick Leahy, besides Kerala NGO ‘Thanal’s director C. Jayakumar, also appear in the film.

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