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Thursday, 8 October 2009

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Government Gazette

Laws to tighten pesticide use

New laws governing the use of pesticides are to be introduced shortly. According to Sumith Jayakody, Research Officer of the Peradeniya Registrar of Pesticides the new regulations will be gazetted this year to ensure the safe use of pesticides. He told a media briefing that the new regulations will be applied to pest control services, labelling information, training of pesticide applicators and penalty structure. The fine for the misuse of pesticides is to be increased from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 500,000. It is reported that 1,242 deaths resulted from pesticide poisoning in 2006 while another 16,876 persons were admitted to hospital. There were 2,787 suicides by recourse to pesticides the same year.

Today, there is an urgent need to create public awareness on the dangers of wrong use of pesticides. This is because the most harm is caused due to ignorance. Even our farmers are incapable of understanding the directions given in the use of pesticides that are imported to the country. Thus they tend to err in their application resulting in harm being caused. Jayakody pointed out that the majority of pesticide users (70 percent) used more than the stipulated dosage and a majority (82 percent) had symptoms of extreme toxicity following spraying. This brings us to the question of the toxicity of the food crop. Who is to say that our vegetables or fruits are not contaminated by the overuse of pesticides. Do some of the new diseases and ailments have a direct correspondence to this factor ? It would be worthwhile to ascertain the overall impact of pesticide contaminated food on the health aspect.

Without doubt the spraying of pesticides to food crops has its inherent dangers. Today, we are so preoccupied by deaths caused by violence we tend to ignore the more insidious forms of danger through chemical poisoning. It is no exaggeration to say most of the food we eat are contaminated by toxic properties. Even natural foods such as vegetables fall into this category due to the indiscriminate spraying of pesticides and also the use of toxic agro chemicals.

Therefore the authorities should also turn their attention to the slow poisoning resulting from the use of highly toxic pesticides on food crops. Today there are all types of pesticides that have flooded the market and the prospective user is least aware of its dangers. One wonders how safe are these pesticides. Steps should also be taken to check the contents of pesticides that are imported to the country under various labels. This is because these could contain destructive properties that could harm our food crops while also exposing their users to danger.

Not just pesticides, the authorities should also be alert in respect of all types of agro chemicals that are being imported to the country. This is because there could be sinister moves by interested parties to destroy our agricultural crops. Such plots had been uncovered in other countries too. Time was when the farmers relied on the simple dung or compost fertilizer for our crops. This, while obtaining high yields also ensured zero contamination. Today we have lush attractive looking vegetable, oversized carrots and capsicum. These though alluring to the sight are grown by the use of toxic agro chemicals which are harmful to health.

Therefore a full study should be undertaken to ascertain larger implications on the use of certain agro chemicals on our food crops. This is because like medicinal drugs, the manufacture of pesticides and agro chemicals are monopolized by multi-national companies who may palm off any product to the unsuspecting. Thus a closer scrutiny should be done on the product thus imported before it is put into the market.

Measures should also be taken to restrict the free access of pesticides to all and sundry to reduce its fatal consequences. The number of suicides due to pesticide poisoning shows their easy availability. Thus a tight control needs to be maintained on their issue. Some form of restriction may be imposed on traders to reduces the chances of pesticides getting into the wrong hands.

Governmentís strength:

Security, welfare and development

The UPFA Government headed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and with rapid progress achieved under the Mahinda Chinthana has today strengthened its power with the massive support from the people.

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PARALLEL Perspectives

Fattened cows are coming home

The cliques that got plumped on lavish LTTE funding, rewards, jaunts and even Swiss bank accounts are surfacing in droves. Government dossiers on these Faustian alliances that defamed Sri Lanka are getting thicker by the hour as revelations by captured Tiger cadres and international financiers expose the magnitude of their ravenous acts fraught with inevitable incarceration.

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Iranís nuclear program exposes Western hypocrisy

On September 21, Iran announced its second uranium enrichment facility stating that the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA was informed as early as 2004 of it. It is being built into the side of a mountain at the holy city of Qom making it less vulnerable to destruction,

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