India changes its position on endosulfan at the Stockholm Convention
It softens its stand and agrees that endosulfan is a health hazard.
It agrees to a ban on the pesticide.
India seeks exemption in 15 crops till such time that cheaper alternatives are worked out
CSE welcomes the move and wants government to expedite phase out as health hazards are now known and accepted
New Delhi, April 29, 2011: The final day of the fifth Stockholm Convention – meeting held in Geneva to decide the fate of endosulfan, a persistent organic pollutant saw a different Indian position.
India, which has single handedly blocked the ban on this globally accepted toxin, agreed to the inclusion of endosulfan in Annex A – a listing of globally banned pesticide under the UN’s Stockholm Convention -- without any opposition. CSE welcomes this shift in the Indian government’s position, which has now recognized the hazards of endosulfan, a pesticide, which has caused enormous human suffering in Kerala and Karnataka where it has been sprayed over cashew plantation.
In Kerala, the chief minister, V S Achuthanandan has asked for a ban on the pesticide, arguing that it has created havoc in his state. Karnataka has also banned the use of endosulfan, like Kerala. It is also clear that in other parts of the country, where this pesticide is used extensively there is growing evidence of its toxicity. In spite of these concerns, the Indian government, represented by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, had been supportive of the pesticide industry’s position that endosulfan must not be banned. The Indian government had been adamant in its position to support endosulfan since 2008 when endosulfan was first introduced in the fourth Stockholm Convention, as a persistent organic pollutant, which faced a global ban.
CSE believes that now that India has agreed to a global ban, and has accepted that endosulfan is a poison that needs to be eliminated, it is only a matter of time before the phase out happens. CSE would like to stress that this phase-out must be expedited. It is time that the government recognizes the need to make concerted efforts towards moving to non-chemical alternatives of endosulfan. This will help keep the farmers out of the pesticide's bad health and debt trap.
Endosulfan, an organochlorine pesticide, and known endocrine disruptor and neurotoxic is known to have created serious health concerns in Kasaragod district in Kerala and the adjoining Dakshin Kanada district in Karnataka. Over 20 years of aerial spraying on the cashew plantations in these states has left many with mental and physical disorders and the health anomalies are now being seen even in the newer generations.