Only country to oppose restriction
INDIA again foiled international efforts to restrict trade in endosulfan, a toxic pesticide, by getting it listed in the Rotterdam Convention. The
convention, a UN chemicals information treaty, makes it binding for countries to disclose the hazardous nature of chemicals before exporting
them to countries with their prior informed consent (pic).
India was the only country to oppose the entry of endosulfan in the list at the fifth pic chemical review committee
(crc) meeting held in Rome on March 23-27. Twenty-eight out of 29 members of the class='UCASE'>crc favoured inclusion of the pesticide in the list. This followed reports from nine African countries saying many cotton
farmers fell ill and died after exposure to the chemical.
G K Pandey, adviser to the environment ministry, who represented India, reportedly opposed the listing on technical grounds saying the risk
assessment of endosulfan is inadequate. He claimed no one in India suffered after exposure to endosulfan.
Birth deformities and diseases linked to endosulfan spraying on cashew crops have however been reported in India in Kerala's Kasargode
district (see 'Lies, damn lies and endosulfan, Down To Earth, April 15, 2004).
"The ministry is influenced by chemicals companies," said Gopal Krishna of international pops (persistent organic
pollutants) elimination network. Activists hope crc will get the pesticide listed at the next meeting. "There is a
provision allowing crc to base its decision on two-thirds majority failing a consensus," said Krishna.
India had opposed the entry of the pesticide in the pic list in the October 2008 meeting of the
class='UCASE'>crc. It also thwarted a global ban on the pesticide last year when it was to be included in the Stockholm Convention list of