venerdì 13 maggio 2011

Kerala: danger endosulfan

Rice plantation in Kerala (India)
Kasargod, at the northern end of Kerala, has the largest cashew plantation belt that covers 5,600 acres in 11 village panchayats. The plantations have been aerially sprayed with endosulfan since 1976, three times a year regularly till 2000, to check the menace of the tea mosquito bug. Aerial spraying of the highly toxic organochlorine pesticide polluted water bodies, soil and vegetation. The after-effects of the indiscriminate use of endosulfan haunt Kasargod. Kerala’s health department identified 4,600 victims in 11 village panchayats and issued health cards entitling patients to free medical care. In 1979, the local community noticed stunted growth and deformed limbs among newborn calves.
By 1990, the health disorders were noticed among humans. Mothers started delivering children with congenital anomalies, mental retardation, physical deformities, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and hydrocephalus.
The National Institute of Occupational Health, a wing of the Indian Council of Medical Research, conducted a study in the affected areas and identified aerial spraying of endosulfan as the reason behind the complex health problems in the region. But it was not enough to convince the agriculture ministry to order a ban on the chemical.

If you want more about that, read the essay on Tehelka.

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