India softens its stand on endosulfan | delhi | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
May 24, 2017-Wednesday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

India softens its stand on endosulfan

Indian government representatives at the UN-backed Stockholm Convention signaled on Thursday that they would push for an “exception” to using endosulfan, farm insecticide, on 22 crops for a five-year time limit — a move independent observers at meet described as a “climb-down”.

delhi Updated: Apr 29, 2011 00:41 IST
Zia Haq

Indian government representatives at the UN-backed Stockholm Convention signaled on Thursday that they would push for an “exception” to using endosulfan, farm insecticide, on 22 crops for a five-year time limit — a move independent observers at meet described as a “climb-down”.

Asking for “exception” implies that the country will have to give up its stand that endosulfan is generally safe, Mohammed Asheel, an independent delegate representing Kerala told HT from Geneva.

However, an exception — in the event of a ban — will let India continue manufacturing and using endosulfan on 22 specific crops, which includes a wide array of food and non-food plants until a safer, cost-effective alternative is found.

Exceptional use of banned substances are permitted if it is for a specific critical purpose, such as use of DDT in areas where malaria is highly endemic.

“This (22 crops) is too long a list and virtually includes all major crops. India can seek another five years, citing lack of an alternative. It is a ploy to get around the ban,” Asheel said. China, he said, had sought exception for four crops.

Hectic consultations in the May 25–29 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants are on to boost global action for a worldwide ban on 21 chemicals, including endosulfan, because they can threaten human health.

India had opposed a ban and pressed for differing on the issue until 2013, even as a domestic campaign against the commonly used insecticide turned into a hot-button political issue.

India argues endosulfan is safe if used according to norms and the looming possibility of a ban could push up food costs and imperil food production, as the next cheapest alternative pesticide costs up to 10 times more.

Moreover, a ban threatens India’s domestic pesticide industry, the world’s largest producer of endosulfan, whose market is valued at over RS1,000 crore and half of which is consumed domestically.

A scientific probe on the use of endosulfan, which is going on in Kerala could take three years to conclude.

India’s take

An exception —in the event of a ban — will let India continue manufacture and use endosulfan on 22 specific crops, which includes a wide array of food and non-food plants until a safer, cost-effective alternative is found

India had opposed a ban and pressed for differing on the issue until 2013, even as a domestic campaign turned into a raging political issue

India argues endosulfan is safe if used according to norms. The looming possibility of a ban could push up food costs as the next cheapest alternative pesticide costs up to 10 times more