An environmental time bomb
By Munsif Vengattil | Express News Service | Published: 29th December 2016 01:23 AM |
KOZHIKODE: Despite the high-octane campaign against toxic pesticides, it has emerged that there was no let-up in their excessive and indiscriminate use in the plantations in Wayanad, which throws up serious environmental concerns.
According to the Agriculture Department,even banned pesticides and those whose use was restricted were utilised by the farmers with alarming frequency.
“Many plantations in Wayanad remain toxic hubs due to the indiscriminate spraying of hazardous pesticides, which the department admits is indeed a matter of grave concern. It has been found that the use of banned pesticides has gone up considerably in the ginger farms of Wayanad,” said Shaji T R, Assistant Director of Quality Control (Kozhikode region).
“Even as the Agriculture Department had laid down guidelines on the safe use of pesticides, plantation owners tend to ignore this,” he added. And Vengoor in Sulthan Bathery Municipality, Varayal in Muttil panchayat, Periya, Thavinjal and Alattil in Mananthavady Municipality are reportedly some of the localities where excessive use of toxic pesticides is common place.As pointed out by the experts,widespread use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides has resulted in irreparable damage to Wayanad’s fragile ecosystem,resulting in a plethora of problems ranging from health issues to toxic pollution of local water bodies, soil, air and ground water.
Incidentally, Wayanad tops the state’s infant mortality and maternal death rates. The state’s infant mortality average is 13 per 1,000 while it is 50 per 1,000 in Wayanad. A study had revealed that the overuse of pesticides was the major reason for this. According to some recent surveys, the excessive use of pesticides also resulted in a major rise in cancer incidence in Wayanad.
Following the surprise raids carried out by the Agriculture Department,it was found that there were massive irregularities in the storage and sale of pesticides at marketing and distribution centres in Wayanad.
Officials said some shops were found to be selling pesticides even after their business licence had expired. Besides,it emerged that some of the outlets were distributing severely restricted pesticides without adhering to the guidelines. Not only that, some of the distribution centres were located near restaurants and bakeries.