It has been more than a dozen years since health professionals in north Kerala started noticing unusual health disorders in the tracts where there had been aerial spraying of the pesticide endosulfan on cashew plantations. Surveys, studies and countless media reports have brought out the burden of endosulfan. The Government of Kerala has even banned the sale of the pesticide. But the use of endosulfan continues elsewhere in the country, and India which has become a major exporter of this pesticide, remains adamant in its opposition to a global ban.
For reasons that only the Government of India knows, it continues to oppose a ban on endosulfan, the pesticide that is known to have caused immense suffering in north Kerala. At the sixth meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants (POp) Review Committee to the Stockholm Convention held in Geneva in October, India rejected the proposal to ban endosulfan globally. This should be a cause for concern, especially with new cases of health disorders, allegedly due to endosulfan exposure, having been reported not just from Kasargod, but also from other areas like Idukki and Palakkad in Kerala and Dakshina Kannada in Karnataka.