Thursday, May 22, 2014

The report submitted by Consumer Voice on ‘Pesticides in Vegetables’ way back in 2010 is finally spelling success. Authorities have initiated reform measures, i.e., the way situation needs to be dealt from the grass root level. With the intervention of the central government the problem can be tackled in a more smooth and refined manner. 

In a recent development the Delhi government told the Delhi High Court that tackling the problem of pesticide residues in vegetables and fruits sold across the Capital will need Centre’s intervention.

Several reports have pointed out a high content of pesticide residues in vegetables and fruits sold in Delhi that can cause various diseases, including cancer.

Amicus curiae Sanjay Jain submitted before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw that the problem cannot be addressed by Delhi government alone.

Delhi is a consumer market. The problem starts at the point of cultivation when various pesticides are added. Remedial measures have to start from the point the cultivation begins,” Jain said.

The high court, however, declined to accept Jain’s plea to include all the state authorities as a party in the case. “If some policy has to be made and implemented, the Union government is going to the implementing agency,” it said.

The agriculture ministry also informed the court that an extensive media campaign has been initiated to educate the people regarding safe use of pesticides in fruits and vegetables.

The ministry, in its affidavit, said the “Ministry of Agriculture has decided to extend all assistance to the state government of NCT of Delhi in setting up requisite infrastructure for enhancing its capacity to carry out sample testing of pesticides in fruits and vegetables”.

The Delhi government, represented by counsel Zubeda Begum, also informed the court that it was adhering to periodic monthly sample tests of fruits and vegetables sold in the city. The HC had acted suo motu on a report by NGO Consumer Voice, which in 2010 found that 35 varieties of vegetables and fruits, picked from Delhi markets and tested for pesticide content, had toxins beyond the permissible limits.

The report claimed that pesticides such as chlordane, endrin, heptachlor, ethyl and parathion were being used in growing number of vegetables. These pesticides can cause serious neurological problems, kidney damage, skin diseases, cancer and other diseases. Source: HT 
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