Apex court lens on 99 pesticides
New Delhi: A petition seeking a ban on 99 pesticides already outlawed or restricted in advanced nations has prompted the Supreme Court to seek responses within four weeks from the ministries of agriculture and chemical-and-fertilisers besides the Central Insecticides Board.
These pesticides are killing hundreds in India and causing serious illness to thousands, the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud heard on Monday.
Moved by three agricultural activists - Kavitha Kuruganti of Bangalore, Amar Singh Azad of Punjab and V.R. Ananthasayanan of Tamil Nadu - the petition says harmful pesticides are seeping into the soil and groundwater and contaminating air, water and food.
Appearing for the petitioners, senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan said the Centre and the states had ignored reports of pesticide poisoning causing a large number of deaths and prolonged illness, from cancer and reproductive disorders to mental illnesses.
Scientific studies have linked pesticide use to depression and suicidal tendencies among farmers, the petition says, implying that pesticides have had a role in the mounting farmer suicides in the country.
"Numerous scientific papers and studies have shown (that) pesticide exposure has increased the risk of several disease like various forms of cancer, DNA damage, damage to the brain and nervous system, Parkinson's disease, birth defects, immunological changes, and adverse effects on the physical and mental development of children, in farmers and farm workers and their families in many states of India, including Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Karnataka," the petition says.
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