The Centre for Science and Environment, one of India’s foremost environmental groups, welcomed the Supreme Court’s move to ban controversial pesticide Endosulfan today.
It also accused two Committees preferred by the Government, the O P Dubey committee and the C D Mayee committee, of manipulating ‘facts’ to favor continuance of the use of Endosulfan in plantations.
“These reports have been manipulated, the facts in them are distorted and dissenting voices have been suppressed,” the firm, one of the first to study the ill-effects of the chemical in India, said.
CSE has been at the forefront of the attempts to chronicle and study the effects of Endosulfan on human beings, particularly in Northern Kerala where it is alleged to have created genetic disabilities in children.
The Supreme Court had banned the substance for eight weeks, pending an enquiry into its effects. Despite being banned on a global level, the Government of India has been arguing for the continued use of the chemical — allegedly at the behest large corporations that manufacture and sell the chemical across the country.
“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,” Sunita Narain, head of CSE, said, adding that she ‘congratulated’ the Supreme Court for taking the bold decision of totally banning the chemical.
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.
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, the organization said.
“Virulent slander campaigns and public demonstrations attacking and bullying these groups and individuals had become the order of the day,” a statement said.
Narain also warned against other similar toxic chemicals being sold to Indian farmers.
“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,” Narain said.