Although there are 33 pesticides similar to endosulfan, there is no hue and cry in the country about banning these pesticides as in the case of endosulfan in the past. This is due to scientific vacuum in the media, VM Katoch, secretary in the central government’s department of health research, has said.
Speaking at the inauguration of a two-day international conference on ‘Health Effects of Pesticide Residues in Food and Environment’, organised by the National Institute of Nutrition here on Thursday, he said, “No doubt every pesticide has side- effects but the discourse on pesticides should consider freeing the population of hunger by using them appropriately as per international standards,” said Katoch, who is also the director-general of Indian Council of Medical Research.
To effectively study the advantages and disadvantages of various pesticides, the central government will commission a project from March 2014, he said.
“This project will be a comprehensive study from the village level and will involve all stakeholders including public health officials.
In its first phase it would be taken up in seven states, including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab, and taken up in others states later, Katoch said.
“By their nature, pesticides are toxic to humans but if they are not used, there will be acute shortage of food production,” said Philippe Verger of World Health Organisation. “Over 35 per cent of the world’s food supply will be lost without the use of pesticides. With already over 1 billion people, about 15 per cent of human population, are hungry and with the population reaching 9 billion by 2050 the world will need a significant increase in food production,” he said .
LV Subrahmanyam, principal secretary (health) of the state government, and NIN director Kalpagam Polasa also spoke.