The Supreme Court on August 5 gave a three week extension to the Joint Committee to submit in its interim report details on the possibility of exports or disposal off the existing stocks of endosulfan.
The demand to ban endosulfan across the country could receive a double blow as both the counter affidavit of the Union of India and the Joint Committee Report of the DG-ICMR and Agriculture Commissioner seem to be riding on the unscientific use of endosulfan rather than the harmful impacts of the pesticide on human and animal health and the environment.
Excel Crop Care is back to attacking scientists. S Ganesan on behalf of Excel Crop Care, the biggest endosulfan manufacturer in the country, has sent a legal notice to the Calicut Medical college for their report on endosulfan. The report indicted endosulfan for the health problems of those living in the cashew plantations in Kasaragod, Kerala.
Day 5: With no consensus reached on white asbestos, its back to square one. The only progress was India changing its stand and therefore one less country to convert in the next COP session. Canada continues to remain the villain. India on the other hand earned some more brownie points by agreeing to list endosulfan in the PIC list or the Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention.
The Pesticides Manufactures and Formulators Association of India (PMFAI) continues to be in denial on the role the pesticide had on the health of the people in Kasaragod. In a reply affidavit filed by the association, they have cited iodine deficiency, radiation and genetic inbreeding, as the cause for the health problems in the district.
The Supreme Court appointed joint committee was unable to submit its interim report on endosulfan on July 15 and asked for another eight weeks to prepare the report. On the other hand, the pesticide manufacturers and formulators association of India, one of the respondents in the case, pleaded with the court to give an immediate relief to them to allow exporting the pesticides, the stocks for which were already present with the manufacturers.
The fortnightly newsmagazine Down To Earth (DTE) carries a shocking expose on the Central government's "unseemly haste" to give a clean chit to the pesticide endosulfan, used in the district of Kasaragod in Kerala and seen as the cause of horrendous abnormalities in people living there
As India attends the COP5, it is worth looking at how it has fared in the past. In COP 4, held in 2008, India had played spoilsport by preventing chrysotile asbestos and endosulfan from being included in Annex III of UN's Rotterdam Convention that brands them hazardous. Including the two in the Annex III would have made mandatory for countries to take a Prior Informed Consent, or PIC, before exporting them to other countries.
India has started on the same note that it did at the Stockhlom Convention. It sought consensus based addition of chemicals in the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) list. The COP5 of the Rotterdam Convention has met to decide upon the inclusion of the following chemicals in the Annex III to the convention- chrysotile asbestos, endosulfan, alachlor and aldicarb. On day one of the convention, COP5 parties adopted the agenda without amendments.
Day 2: India opposed the listing of chrysotile asbestos in the PIC list on day two of the Rotterdam Convention. India cited pieces of national evidence suggesting that the substance can be used safely. Sudan too cited the same reasons for opposing the listing of chrysotile asbestos also known as white asbestos. But India and Sudan were not the only countries opposing the listing of asbestos in Annex III of the convention.