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EDC Bharath  Jairaj
 

EDC Bharath Jairaj

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    EDC Bharath  Jairaj EDC Bharath Jairaj Presentation Transcript

    • Bharath Jairaj, CAG, India Household Pesticides and the Indifferent Consumer
    • Background
      • Consumers encounter pesticides in various forms and meant for various purposes in everyday life.
      • India is home to several thousand species of pests – known to be the cause for spread of many diseases
      • Consumers and governments grab the closest (easily accessible) and most severe (potent) form of pest killers available to deal with the pest problem
      • These pesticides are as dangerous to humans as the pests
    • Known Pest Management Techniques
      • Physical / mechanical methods – oldest system (traps, insect screens and nets, baits, plant guards, etc.)
      • Biological methods – use of parasites, predators etc.
      • Natural alternatives including organic methods and homemade pesticides with minimal health impacts
      • Chemical control mechanisms – including organic substances like pyretheum and inorganic derivatives of mercury, sulphur, arsenic etc. and synthetic compounds.
    • Problems
      • Majority of pesticides used today are chemical pesticides and synthetic compounds.
      • Variety of attractively packaged ‘easy-to-use’ products are available in the supermarket and local grocery
      • Unregulated marketing and advertising suggests to the consumer that she can buy, store, handle, use and dispose – without any care or concern (e.g. advertisement showing happy baby asleep because mosquito killer is being used)
      • Some regulations mandate safety warnings and labels – information on active ingredients, directions for ‘safe use’, poisoning symptoms, first aid instructions, but who enforces this?
      • Is Consumer Ministry involved at all? And do consumers read such labels or follow advertising?
      • Is ‘safe use’ of chemical pesticides possible?
    • Areas for more work
      • Analysis of existing legal frameworks – if narcotics and tobacco advertising is regulated, how can advertising and selling poisons be so easy?
      • Survey and analysis of regulatory institutions – who is supposed to be looking at what? (multiple agencies with overlapping functions?)
      • Reliability of ‘alternatives’ – are we sure we are not promoting other toxics? Need to ‘quality mark’ alternatives
      • Massive effort needed to get more consumers and consumer groups informed and involved
    • Enhancing Consumer Awareness
      • Massive campaign on consumer education is required – especially children and adolescents
        • Campaigns to make schools and universities ‘pesticide free’
      • Documenting and exposing misleading claims and ‘greenwash’ of pesticide advertising and marketing
      • Better understanding of what kind of consumer information is required on the products – for e.g., is it realistic to expect consumers to decipher chemical names of active ingredients?
      • Do we need country-specific labels / symbols? E.g. success of ‘green dot’ – ‘red dot’ food labelling in India
    • What about toxic-free homes?
      • Household pesticides is one aspect of toxic use at home
      • Also present in paints, detergents, cleaning agents, batteries, CFL’s, etc.
      • Recent study in India confirms presence of several chemicals and toxins in toys – including cadmium and lead.
      • Long battle ahead!!
    • A caveat…
      • Pesticide manufacturers are famous for filing strategic law suits and defamation cases to fatigue campaigners. Examples from around the world – Philippines, India etc.
      • It is important for campaigners to anticipate this and therefore join hands in a global campaign
    • What can consumer groups do?
      • Consumers as a group are capable of designing government policy – but consumers have remained silent for too long on the issue of household toxics.
      • Consumers must become more aware of the hazards and dangers of synthetic pesticides and other household chemicals and use our power of choice to stop buying and using them
      • Must join hands with local environmental, anti-toxics and health groups and lobby government to ensure a phase-out of these products from our homes
      • Join hands with the Consumers Korea, PAN-AP, CI global campaign!
    • THANK YOU! For more information contact: [email_address]