KOLLAM: Putting health and ecology at risk, highly toxic pesticides, including endosulfan, are allegedly being used extensively by farmers in the district cashing in on the poor monitoring system of the agriculture department and other law enforcing agencies.
“Endosulfan and other banned pesticides smuggled to the district through the inter-state check posts are being distributed among the farmers under different labels. In most of the cases, the farmers are using them without even knowing what the chemical is,” Rajendran, convener of the Purasamskarika Vedhi told Express.
“Under the banner of ‘Janarogya Prasthanam’, environmental organisations in the district have already launched a movement against this issue. “Various initiatives undertaken by these organisations have helped inculcate an interest towards organic farming among the people in the district and thereby shield them from consuming poisonous vegetables to an extent,” he said. “Apart from providing guidance on organic farming, these organisations also distribute good variety seeds to the farmers,” he added.A march taken out the ‘Janarogya Prasthanam’ from Kanhangad to create awareness on the ill effects of chemical pesticides ended in Thiruvanthapuram on Monday. Public awareness campaigns were organised at Ochira, Puthoor, Karunagapally, Kottarakara, Shasthamcottah, Perumpuzha and Kollam in the district as part of the march.The organisers of the march have submitted memoranda to all political parties. “Though all political parties talk much about the necessity to stop use of chemical pesticides, only few are sincere and the people know who they are,”he said.
Meanwhile, Principal Agriculture Officer Stanley Chacko said the department has taken all measures to prevent use of endosulfan or any other hazardous insecticide. The agriculture officers posted in different villages, mainly in the eastern parts which share border with Tamil Nadu, have been keeping constant vigil on illegal smuggling of pesticides into the state. These village officers conduct tests in the field and file fortnightly status report, he said.In addition to this, officers are posted in the Aryankavu check post to ensure that no red-labelled or yellow-labelled insecticides are smuggled into the district. We are hundred per cent sure that endosulfan is not being used by farmers in Kollam, he said.