Calls it a 'resounding defeat' for pesticide industry which has been promoting this deadly toxin
New Delhi, May 13, 2011: Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has welcomed today's Supreme Court order banning the use, sale, production and export of endosulfan with immediate effect.
This landmark judgment comes on the heels of India's grudging acceptance at the Stockholm Convention that endosulfan is a serious health hazard and that it should be banned.
Says CSE director general Sunita Narain: "We congratulate the judiciary of the country and thank it – the judgement has restored our faith in democracy. We also congratulate the civil society organisations in Kerala which have been working relentlessly towards banning this deadly toxin and bringing the matter to the notice of the national media."
Endosulfan, an organochlorine pesticide and a known endocrine disruptor and neurotoxic, has led to serious health concerns in Kasaragod district in Kerala and the adjoining Dakshin Kannada district in Karnataka. Over 20 years of aerial spraying on cashew plantations in these states has left many with mental and physical disorders.
A 2001 study by CSE had established the linkages between the aerial spraying of the pesticide and the growing health disorders in Kasaragod. Over the years, other studies have confirmed these findings, and the health hazards associated with endosulfan are now widely known and accepted.
Says Narain: "Despite this evidence which proves the toxicity of the pesticide, the government had – all this while -- chosen to consistently deny and prevaricate in support of the industry."
CSE researchers who have been tracking the endosulfan case point out that the Indian government had accepted the reports of the O P Dubey committee and the C D Mayee committee -- both of which had given a clean chit to endosulfan.
CSE, on the other hand, has consistently exposed the flaws in these reports. "These reports have been manipulated, the facts in them are distorted and dissenting voices have been suppressed," say CSE researchers.
Pesticide industry suffers a resounding defeat
The court's order has essentially vindicated the stand taken by civil society organizations, and has shown the door to the pesticide industry's bullying and intimidatory tactics.
The pesticide industry had left no stone unturned to arm-twist victims of endosulfan, as well as the civil society groups and scientists who had been fighting for their cause. Virulent slander campaigns and public demonstrations attacking and bullying these groups and individuals had become the order of the day.
Today's judgement, says CSE deputy director general Chandra Bhushan, makes it clear that "the industry's immense financial clout and money power has been completely annihilated by the poor and feeble victims of endosulfan. It is a great leap forward for Indian democracy."
Says Narain: "India is on a pesticide treadmill. Farmers are being sold one toxic pesticide after another. The government needs to initiate policy change and come up with cheaper and safer alternatives. It is time India moved towards safe agriculture and better health for its farmers."
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