BENZENE hexachloride and malathion
showed up in vegetables from the
Azadpur wholesale vegetable market,
prompting the ministry of agriculture to
order the phasing out of chemical pesticides in vegetable farming. The levels
were found to be below the human
tolerance level, but the question that
haunted the ministry was: why take
a chance? Their long-term accumulation can impair kidney functions
and blood circulation. Deadly residues
had earlier been found in rice grains,
vegetables and fruits sold in most
markets in Delhi.
The ministry had launched the
Integrated Pest Management (IMP) programme last year for cotton and rice
crops, which has now been extended to
vegetables and fruits. The programme
uses vario -us methods of "total crop
management techniques" in which the
emphasis is on the use of genuine seeds
and disease-free planting materials, better varieties and largescale use of natural
predators of pests.
In fact, pests had become resistant to
the drugs, and the pesticides were decimating friendly insects and the predators feeding on the pests.
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