Upsets Montreal pact plan
the complete phase-out of methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting substance (ods) used as a pesticide, would now be delayed because the us will continue to use it for at least one more year. Industrialised countries should have phased out the agricultural chemical by January 1, 2005. But the us wanted a waiver.
Parties to the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement on a timetable for phasing out odss, granted the us an exemption so that it can use 8,942 tonnes of the chemical in 2005. The decision was taken at their extraordinary meeting held in Montreal, Canada, from March 24-26. The us got the biggest of the total exemptions (13,438 tonnes) given to 11 countries. The other 10 countries are Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Spain and the uk. A distinction has been made between old and new production in these exemptions by imposing a cap of 30 per cent of the baseline (1991) levels on the latter.
The green light to the us request "is very unfair to countries like those in Latin America who made good progress in reducing or eliminating their use of methyl bromide", says Monica Moore, co-director of Pesticide Action Network North America (panna), a non-governmental organisation working to reduce the use of harmful pesticides.
The us had argued that a complete phase-out of the chemical would hurt its farmers as developing countries have been allowed to use it till 2015. But panna staff scientist, Jamie Liebman, reveals: "For all of the major uses of this pesticide, there are examples of the same crops currently grown profitably in the us and other countries without it."
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