A couple of years ago, research was conducted on various samples of breast milk taken from different women. The results of the research were shocking Endosulfan and Malathion was found in the milk, which was 8.6 % and 4.1 % more than the average daily intake level as recommended by the WHO. Endosulfan and Malathion are two of the most fatal pesticides which have carcinogenic properties and are known to cause reproductive and developmental damages in humans as well as animals. The research had highlighted the excessive presence of pesticides in our food. Farmers use fertilizers using pesticides and insecticides to protect the crops from pests. But,
unfortunately, only 1% of pesticides kill the pests and the remaining 99% enters our food, therefore, instead of killing the pests, pesticides are killing the humans.
BAN ON PESTICIDES
There are many cases where farmers succumb to these pesticides while using it. Right now, there are more than 100 pesticides that are banned in other countries due to their ill effects on our both humans and animals lives but they are used in India. But recently, a draft order dated May 14, 2020, was passed by the government that called for the ban on those 27 pesticides which are banned worldwide. This is a welcome move considering the threat posed by the pesticides but India must ban all the pesticides which are banned globally. Apart from banning, it’s important to come up with proper regulations and monitoring mechanisms for pesticides.
CASE OF KASARGOD
Although, there are plethora of examples of the ill-effects of pesticides but the Kasargod case remains the worst episode that India had witnessed. Around 1975, the agricultural department in Kerala started planting cashew trees in large amounts and to kill the pests Plantation Corporation of Kerala sprayed Endosulfan over the trees. For the next 25 years, 22 lakh liters of endosulfan were consistently sprayed over 15,000 acres of land. What followed was the biggest nightmare. The spraying of endosulfan led to various neurological and psychological diseases, fits, and miscarriages in women, cognitive-disorders, cancer, and other physical and mental disabilities in people especially children. The conditions of people were so dismal that doctors were shocked over the whole incident.
Not only humans but the endosulfan also killed various species of birds, frogs, fishes, snakes, and wildlife. Kasargod has a rich ecosystem and it’s home to different species of animals and plants but the spraying of pesticides led to the disappearance of many species. In 2001, the Supreme Court gave an order of injunction on the spraying. In 2010, after 10 years of banning the endosulfan, a survey was conducted by the social welfare department found that 2836 people were still suffering from many diseases.
From the last few years, many activists and agriculture scientists are stressing on adopting organic farming. It is believed that organic farming can’t sustain the growing population of our country as the production from organic farming is very less. But it’s barely true. The farmers of Bihar in 2011 set the world record of the highest production of rice and paddy which were organically grown whereas Sikkim became the first organic state in India in 2016. The example of Bihar and Sikkim shows that commercial farming is possible with organic farming. Although, the fact that initially, the production from organic farming can be less is not denied. But with the government support and proper planning, India can go for organic farming. Moreover, the costs involved in organic farming are very less as compared to chemical-based farming which can mitigate a lot of hardships faced by the farmers.