The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has welcomed a move by the Punjab government to ban with immediate effect the sale of 20 pesticides (insecticides) which are harmful to humans and environment.
Chandra Bhushan, the Deputy Director General of the New Delhi-based think tank, said: "We are pleased to know about this much needed step."
The CSE on Wednesday demanded a similar action by the Central government.
"If a state like Punjab, which is a high pesticide user state and dependent on pesticides, acts in the interest of public health, it is incumbent on the Central government to take necessary steps to eliminate sale of highly toxic pesticides in the entire country," said Bhushan.
On Tuesday, the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare of Punjab issued directions to discontinue the sale of 20 harmful pesticides (insecticides). It also directed not to issue any fresh licenses for these pesticides.
The banned pesticides include Phosphamidion, Methomyl, Phorate, Triazophos and Monocrotophos, which are considered Class-I pesticides by the World Health Organisation, and are further categorised into extremely hazardous (Class-IA) and highly hazardous (Class-IB) to human health.
"Many of these are banned in several countries. For example, Phosphamidon is banned in 49 countries, Phorate in 37, Triazophos in 40 and Monocrotophos is banned in 60 countries," a CSE statement said.
"But India still allows use of these five along with several other class I pesticides. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer's Welfare, based on a 2015 review by the Anupam Verma Committee, through an order of December 2016, planned to ban only three out of these five and that too starting from 2021."
Amit Khurana, Senior Programme Manager, Food Safety and Toxins team, CSE, said: "We must address the issue of class I pesticides.
"These account for about 30 per cent of the total insecticide use in our country. The government action in this regard has been largely inadequate so far."
In the wake of ill-effects of pesticides and deaths related to it, the CSE has been advocating for a ban on Class I pesticides and seeking a pesticide management bill which fills gaps in laws and strengthens enforcement.
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