CSE responds to the endosulfan industry's bullying tactics

I thought I should let you know about the recent attacks against us by the pesticide industry. You will recall, we had way back in 2001 analyzed samples of soil, water and blood from Padre village in Kerala to check for contamination. We went there because local doctors and activists wrote about the horrific diseases and abnomalities in this region. We tested and found high levels of endosulfan pesticide.

Since then the industry has launched a virulent vilification campaign against us. It has done everything – from defamation notices to scurrilous and dirty material against us. They have imputed motive; they have challenged our work; they have stooped down to offensive campaigns against me personally. You may even remember how they protested outside our office and my home a few years ago. I wrote about it then, saying that these are SLAPP tactics (read more on Down To Earth editorial), where industry uses its might to shut up activists. 

This when we have answered all the issues they have raised in legal forums and to committees. But they refuse to stop. 

In fact, they are at it again. Now with even greater intensity; email campaigns, defamation suits and letters against us to almost everyone who matters. It is clear they are desperate. The matter of endosulfan will be deliberated at the next meeting of the Stockholm Convention (POP) and Rotterdam Convention (PIC) in the coming months, where the international community is gearing up for global bans on this pesticide. In India opposition is growing: Kerala and now Karnataka have banned endosulfan.

My colleagues have compiled all cases the industry has filed and detailed their harassment over the years. Read it, because you must (see link). There is a lot at stake here and not just for the pesticide industry’s market in poison. 

Let me also make it very clear that the industry is wrong when they say that we are against endosulfan because we want to promote another pesticide, which is patent protected and being pushed by EU. I don’t know which pesticide they are referring to. We are against all pesticides. Our campaign continues to test products (remember our tests against blood of farmers in Punjab). Our campaign pushes for policies, which will reduce our exposure to toxins and regulate poison in our environment. We intend to continue.  

Sunita Narain

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