The Centre today told the Delhi High Court that it has decided to continue the use of 51 out of the 67 pesticides that have been banned world over, based on the recommendations of an expert panel.
The Ministry of Agriculture submitted before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal that the decision to continue the use of the 51 pesticides was taken based on the recommendations of the expert panel.
The government said that of the 51, use of 27 pesticides shall be reviewed in 2018.
The Centre also said that though the panel had recommended phasing out of six pesticides out of the 51 by the year 2020, any final decision would be taken after going through the objections and suggestions invited from general public and other stakeholders.
Objections and suggestions have also been invited regarding the recommended complete ban of 13 other pesticides, the ministry told the bench.
The government, however, has accepted the panel’s recommendation to ban use of one pesticide, fenitrothion, in agriculture.
In view of the submissions made by the government, the petitioner who had sought immediate ban of some the pesticides withdrew his PIL to file a fresh one challenging setting up of the panel and for constituting a fresh one.
The Centre, in its report placed before the court, has said that ban on Endosulfan would continue as it was ordered by the Supreme Court.
Regarding use of DDT, the ministry has said that it was being used by health departments in limited quantities for vector (mosquito) control programmes and any final decision to ban it would be taken after receiving comments of Directorate of Plant Protection Quarantine and Storage (DPPQ & S).
The science on DDT’s human health impacts has continued to mount over the years, with recent studies showing harm at very low levels of exposure. Studies show a range of human health effects linked to DDT and its breakdown product, DDE:breast & other cancers,male infertility, miscarriages & low birth weight,developmental delay,nervous system & liver damage
Some of the pesticides from the list of 51 that continue to be allowed are Alachlor, Aluminum Phosphide, Benfurcarb, Oxyflurofen, Carbaryl, Malathion, Acephate, Dimethoate, Chlorpyrifos, Lindane, Quinalphos, Phosphomidon, Carbandizm, Captan, Tridamorph, Practilachlor, 2.4–D and Glyphosate.
Some people who drink water containing Alachlor well in excess of the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for many years could have problems with their eyes, liver, kidneys, or spleen, or experience anemia, and may have increased risk of getting cancer.
People exposed to Acephate have had nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, shaking, sweating, rapid heart rate, dizziness, and/or confusion. Symptoms usually begin within minutes or hours after exposure.
The petitioner, K V Biju had alleged “conflict of interest” against the expert committee for having representatives from the pesticide industry who, it claimed, had vested commercial interest.
It had contended that the panel had “heavily relied” upon the inputs of these members from the pesticide industry.
As per the petition, the expert panel was set up by the Agriculture Ministry to look into 67 pesticides which were banned in other countries but continued to be used in India.