People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXV

No. 18

May 01, 2011

 

Nationwide Ban On Endosulfan Demanded

 

THE central executive committees of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) and the Students Federation of India (SFI) have strongly demanded that the government of India forthwith a nationwide ban on pesticide Endosulfan. Though it is a poison and has caused much human suffering and irreparable ecological damage, this chemical is still being sold and used in our country.

 

In a statement issued from New Delhi on April 23, the two organisations have pointed out that in Kasaragod district of Kerala, the tragedy of the people who were exposed to Endosulfan is still continuing. While more than 500 deaths since 1995 have been officially acknowledged as related to the spraying of Endosulfan, unofficial estimates put the total number of deaths since the late seventies at around 4,000. People are still dying from the after-effects of this pesticide, while more than 1,000 are in an utterly miserable condition. The health of more than 9,000 persons has been impaired by this pesticide, which is not easily degradable. It has contaminated the soil and water in many parts of the country and found its way into food chains, affecting many lower and higher forms of life including humans in these areas.

 

The DYFI and the SFI say that Endosulfan has been banned across 74 countries in all the continents, after elaborate studies. In our own country, Kerala and Karnataka have banned this chemical after finding about the health and environment damages it causes. The government of Kerala had done everything within its powers to help the Endosulfan victims and their families in Kasargode but it said it could provide further relief to these people only after getting central support. However, the central governmentís stand so far was not favourable to the state or the Endosulfan victims. The state government is now bearing the entire treatment expenditure of the Endosulfan victims, and giving each victim a sum of Rs 2,000 a month and their dependent families Rs 1,000 each, besides free ration. The LDF government of Kerala has also created facilities in the 11 affected panchayats for providing timely medical and palliative care.

 

The DYFI and the SFI have demanded that the central government must immediately impose a total ban on the use of Endosulfan across the country, set up a tribunal to assess the damages it causes, and pay compensation to the Endosulfan victims.

 

The two organisations have also demanded the Ministry of Environment & Forests to support the cause of an international level ban on Endosulfan in the upcoming Stockholm convention. This would phase out the chemical globally. The UNEPís science panel --- Persistent Organic Pollutant Review Committee --- has after three-year deliberations finally recommended a global ban on the pesticide Endosulfan and its listing in Annex A of the Stockholm convention. The DYFI and SFI have warned the said ministry that it must not to succumb to the pressures of the corporate lobby, as the chemicals producing corporations are more worried about their profits than about the safety of farm workers and consumers.