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DDT

Awardee 2001

Issue Date: Mar 31, 2001
Malaria affects the most vulnerable: children of poor families in developing countries face the greatest risk. The chemical pesticides used to combat the disease in the past 50 years or so pose grave dangers to the environment and human health (see box: Problem ). Any solution that can help the most vulnerable people to get out of this treadmill, in which the cure becomes worse than the disease, is of no mean value.

Solution

Issue Date: Mar 31, 2001
At least 35 people died of malaria in 1983 in Nadiad taluka of Gujarat's Kheda district. The Malaria Research Centre, with V P Sharma as director, began its work on bioenvironmental control here. This was a response to the failure of the National Malaria Eradication Programme (NMEP), which was all about residual insecticide sprays and chemotherapy to prevent the resurgence of malaria. Three decades of success with this approach was followed by three kinds of resistance. l Parasites were becoming resistant to drugs.

THE JURY

V RAMALINGASWAMI (Chairperson of The Jury) national research professor, and emeritus professor at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), and president, National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi

Payback time

Issue Date: Jan 31, 2001
four us chemical companies will pay a compensation of us $73 million to clean up ddt-contaminated waste near California's Santa Catalina Island. This amount is the largest compensation ever paid for an environmental clean up, other than oil. The companies include Montrose Chemical Corporation, Aventis SA, Chris-Craft Industries Incorporation and Atkemix Thirty Seven Incorporation.

Playing safe

Issue Date: Jan 15, 2001
the case for using the 'precautionary principle' to protect human health has received a boost through recent negotiations for a global treaty to control toxic chemicals. Action can now be taken against toxic 'persistent organic pollutants' ( pops) as long as there is scientific evidence that they pose a risk to human health and environment even without complete certainty.

Playing with poison

Issue Date: Oct 31, 1999
why haven't we banned ddt as yet. There are reasons enough to do so. Therefore, it is indeed surprising that the 115 nations that sat down to negotiate a ban on pesticides failed to ban ddt (dichloro diphynel trichloroethane). Perhaps, it is because ddt is used to fight malaria, a poor man's disease. Does this reflect a lack of concern on the part of the rich for the poor?

FOLLOW UP

Issue Date: Oct 31, 1999
It is known for its ability to render birds sterile, enter the food chain, persist in its original form without degrading for a long period of time, disrupt the reproductive system and is suspected to have carcinogenic properties. But it seems that dichloro diphenyl trichloroethane (DDT) will not be banned. Recently, at the third meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee in Geneva, Switzerland, 115 nations convened to negotiate on the use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), as such substances are called. But they failed to put in place a moratorium on its use.

Pact on pollutants

Issue Date: Oct 15, 1999
representatives from 115 nations signed a draft agreement to ban eight highly toxic pesticides and other chemicals, that are among the "dirty dozen" persistent organic pollutants ( pop s), which are compounds that accumulate in the food chain. However, there was no consensus on ddt ( dichloro diphenyl trichloroethane) , which is used for eradicating mosquitoes, that transmit malaria.

Back like a bad penny

Author(s): Mario
Issue Date: Oct 15, 1999
It seems that ddt will not be banned. Over 115 nations which met to negotiate a convention on persistant organic pollutants (pops ) have agreed not to do so. The excuse, perhaps rather lame, is that the substance is needed to combat malaria. Popularly known by its acronym ddt , it was the villain of the piece in the late 50s and shook the world out of its complacency towards pesticides.
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