Monday, April 18, 2011




Between 1976 and 2000, more than 50,000 villagers of Kasargod district in Kerala, India have been exposed to endosulfan, a persistent organic pesticide, sprayed on the cashew plantations owned by the Plantation Corporation of Kerala. More than 3000 people living near, downstream and downwind of the estate were affected by debilitating rare diseases like mental retardation, cerebral palsy, cancer etc. In response to the peoples’ agitation, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) mandated the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) to investigate the issue in 2001. NIOH observed that “aerial exposure” to endosulfan was responsible for delay in sexual maturity among the adolescents. In the final report submitted to NHRC and the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, NHRC categorically stated that they did not see any serious diseases like cancer or mental retardation in the villages they went. They recommended a detailed epidemiological study and long term monitoring for cancers of the endocrine system in the affected villages

I would like to invite you to Kerala-famously known as God’s own country. Kerala in South India is flanked by the Arabian Sea on one side and the Sahayadri’s on one side and as a result this South Indian state has a lot to offer nature buffs in terms of exotic flora, natural greens and of course birds and wild animals. Evidently Kerala, South India is a land of immense natural beauty and offers undulating stretches of lush green forests generously sprinkled with gurgling waterfalls, colorful blooms, animals and chirping birds. All this and more add to the natural beauty of this picturesque state. Famous for its greenery and natural beauty Kerala is a world famous tourist spot. Kerala has uppermost literacy rate in the nation. But Education and lust to earn more have made keralites fools. They have started clearing paddy fields and coconut farms and turned into cash crops such as rubber and cashewnuts. In the run to greater yield Malayalees are using unethical and harmful pesticides in cashew plantations.

Now let’s visit a district in Kerala – Kasaragod, once known for its greenery today Kasaragod is haunted by diseases and tragedy. Thanks to hamlets of cashew plantations spread along the district. The diseases are side effects of Endosulfan a deadly pesticide sprayed in these plantations. The UNO classifies Endosulfan as highly dangerous insect killer and banned in 62 countries
Endosulfan should be completely banned.We have to study from experiences. but the Central Govt is supporting the corporates and the policy makers are the agents of the corporates. The use of endosulfan will damge the the soil fertility also. The microorganisms of the soil will be completely damaged and in few years our agriculture will be utter failure.

The insect killer was sprayed aerially with in particular used helicopters. As the plantations are mostly in mountainous areas, the pesticide drains and gets washed down the slopes during rains into drinking water below. Consuming this water will result in diseases ranging from physical deformities, cancers, birth disorders and damages to brain and nervous system. During 2000-2001 the victims got huge media introduction and resulted in Study on the victim’s. The study of Endosulfan effects showed larger abnormality such as mental retardation, cancer and infertility in the victims. But the pesticide and fertilizer industries were very fast to refuse the studies. Endosulfan is manufactured and distributed in India by Hindustan Fertilizers limited. Endosulfan has been banned in Kerala. People are still facing the side effects of Endosulfan in Kerala and Karnataka but the Indian Government has not yet banned the deadly chemical. The Pesticide is still used for cotton and Cashew plantations in many parts of the nation Karnataka, Punjab, Assam and Andhra Pradesh. India needs an effective chemical norm and should ratify a chemical & pesticide policy which would help people affected from chemical accidents & disasters; also stop usage of deadly pesticides for agriculture. Even during the Bhopal gas tragedy Government did nothing for the victims. The victims of Endosulfan also were turned down by the Government. It is clear that all these chemical disasters are due to ignorant and negligent policies from the Government.
The Exposure Pathways
All the environmental media studied have been contaminated with endosulfan. The main routes of entry into the human body are:
1. From mother’s body to foetus via placenta– 36 weeks – Placental Exposure
2. From mother’s milk to baby – 36 months – Maternal Milk-borne exposure
3. From locally grown plant and animal foods – egg, milk and meat – chronic, perennial – Food borne exposure
4. From water – Chronic and perennial – Water borne Exposure
5. From air through breathing and through skin – Few hours till the vapour remains suspended in air. – short duration. – Aerial Exposure
Those who are exposed through the first three pathways, will also be exposed to metabolites – stress chemicals – that are generated by the living systems in response to the exposure. Cattles with congenital anomalies and cancers are more likely to be sold for slaughter

: Union Minister K.V Thomas’ statement backing Endosulfan pesticide is humiliating the hapless victims of Endosulfan disaster in eleven Panchayaths in Kasargod district, states P Mujeeb Rahman, State Head of the Solidarity Youth Movement. K.V Thomas earlier said that Endosulfan did not have any adverse affects in Kasargod.


Jessica M Desai said...

We from, Gujarat and an enthusiastic town of Anand ,learnt about the harmful effects of Endosulfan and were shocked that such man made tragedy are informed to other parts of the country .After 26years of India's greatest man created disaster ,we all blame MNCs while in our backyards polticians debate whether to ban the pesticide ,the prudence shown by 62 contries. God save our country and save us from such miseries. ,

Rahul said...

CPM backed Government gave green signal for Endosulfan usage with out doing proper study of it's consequences to human health.This shows a strong polluted commercial link between CPM and Endosulfan's corporates.

anju abraham said...

Its a very important social,environmental,and health issue that needs to be highlighted.I truly agree with Jessica's comment, God truly save our country and us from such miseries.