Bengaluru: How dangerous are pesticides to human health? The submission made by an official of the Agriculture before a parliamentary committee is both frightening and chastening.
Deposing before the committee, the official said pesticides were ‘poison’ and admitted that the government had failed to check the uninformed and indiscriminate use of pesticides, particularly carbides was extremely dangerous, but was extensive. The committee was informed that farmers were not only using pesticides that were banned, but in alarmingly excessive dosages, and quite needlessly so.
A representative of the ministry deposed that farmers in the country were indulging in overkill as far as using pesticides was concerned.
“We all know that pesticides are nothing but poison. They have to be used with great care. They need to be used only in dosages recommended and only on the crops they are meant for, but the problem is that these rules are flouted by the farmers, who use pesticides in excessive quantities to ensure that the pests are destroyed completely. The results could disastrous (for human health)”.
“Some of the pesticides work over time. The pests are not eliminated immediately, but in the course of time, they will be. But the farmers wants to see the immediate elimination of pests, and they use excessive dosages and multiple times,” the official deposed.
The deposition is contained in the 29th report of the Standing Committee, accessed by Deccan Chronicle.
The official said that copper sulphate was used to ripen fruits and vegetables, but the farmers were using it to provide sheen to vegetables like pointed gourd. Calcium Carbide was used to ripen fruits, but it was an extremely toxic chemical and was on the banned list of chemicals. Only Ethylene was allowed as a ripening agent, but farmers were using Calcium Carbide indiscriminately to ripen fruits including mango and banana. The official also pointed out to the vicious cycle of insecticide use.
Often, overuse of pesticide would lead to the insects or pests developing resistance and surviving the recommended dosage. This led farmers to believe that the dosage used was less, resulting in more and more application of pesticide, vitiating the atmosphere, poisoning soil and ground water, and eventually the health of the consumer.
The representative of the Health Ministry who deposed before the committee offered even more alarming information. He said although DDT was banned, it was still being used by farmers in the country.
“Even though DDT is banned yet it is still being used. It is banned for all other things including endosulfan that has been banned by the Supreme Court all over the country. It is legally not permitted. All the pesticides that were available were given permission to be exported. Ideally speaking, there should be no store of endosulfan within the country. But we are not the enforcing authority. So, we do not know whether it is actually so or not,” the representative said....