Tea companies commit to Non-Pesticide Management in tea; Unilever and Girnar lead the way

After 50 hours volunteers climb down the billboards

August 13th, 2014, Mumbai: In an encouraging turn of events, two of the leading tea companies have come forward in support of Non-Pesticide Management (NPM) in tea. Earlier this week, Greenpeace India released its report “Trouble Brewing”1 highlighting pesticide residue in tea samples. Since then, companies have been coming forward to engage with us. In response, Unilever2 and now Girnar Tea3 have both committed to support the NPM approach, which could lead to phasing out pesticides in tea cultivation. Pilot studies will be the first concrete step in this direction.

“It is very encouraging that the tea companies are taking steps to provide their consumers pesticide-free tea. Unilever and now Girnar Tea have taken the first step in this direction. Greenpeace will continue to urge the tea industry to move towards a holistic, ecosystem-based approach that will gradually phase out pesticides and clean our chai,” said Neha Saigal, Senior Campaigner, Greenpeace India.

To highlight the urgency of the issue, volunteers had climbed up seven billboards at the Bandra Reclamation Road urging the tea companies to “Clean Chai Now”. After spending 50 hours on these billboards, the volunteers today climbed down acknowledging the progress shown by tea companies.

“We are happy that our efforts are paying off and companies are coming forward to engage with us in a positive way. We look forward to a day when all our tea is free from pesticides,” said Bindu Vaz, one of the volunteers.

Notes to the editor:

1) http://www.greenpeace.org/india/en/Press/Greenpeace-calls-on-the-industry-to-save-Indian-tea-from-pesticides/

2)http://www.unilever.nl/nieuwsenmedia/persberichten/2014/UnileverstartonderzoekinIndianaarmogelijkheidtheetetelenzonderpesticiden.aspx

3) https://twitter.com/TeasAtGirnar

For more information: http://grnpc.org/cleanchai

Follow us on twitter: @GreenpeaceIndia

Contacts:

Shashwat Raj: Senior Media Officer, Greenpeace India, +91 9971110144sraj@greenpeace.org

Neha Saigal: Senior Campaigner, Greenpeace India, +917760968772nsaigal@greenpeace.org

Report of Expert Committee setup on the Orders of High Court of Delhi to frame a policy for Monitoring of Pesticide Residues in Fruits & Vegetables

http://agricoop.nic.in/

Report of Expert Committee setup on the Orders of High Court of Delhi to frame a policy for Monitoring of Pesticide Residues in Fruits & Vegetables.New

On the directions dated 5th March, 2014 of the Hon,ble High Court of Delhi in W.P. No. 7495/2010 –Court on its own motion Vrs. U.O.I. & Others the competent authority has decided that the report of Expert Committee to frame a policy for Monitoring of Pesticide Residues in Fruits & Vegetables.

Click here for more details.

Pesticides ‘making bees smaller’

Bumblebees exposed to a widely-used pesticide produced workers with lower body mass, scientists

theguardian.com

Bumblebees could be shrinking because of exposure to a widely-used pesticide, a study suggests.
Bumblebees could be shrinking because of exposure to a widely-used pesticide, a study suggests. Photograph: Nick Ansell/PA

Bumblebees could be shrinking because of exposure to a widely-used pesticide, a study suggests.

Experts fear smaller bees will be less effective at foraging for nectar and carrying out their vital task of distributing pollen.

Scientists in the UK conducted laboratory tests which showed how a pyrethroid pesticide stunted the growth of worker bumblebee larvae, causing them to hatch out reduced in size.

Gemma Baron, one of the researchers from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway, University of London, said: “We already know that larger bumblebees are more effective at foraging.

“Our result, revealing that this pesticide causes bees to hatch out at a smaller size, is of concern as the size of workers produced in the field is likely to be a key component of colony success, with smaller bees being less efficient at collecting nectar and pollen from flowers.”

Pyrethroid  are commonly used on flowering crops to prevent insect damage.

The study, the first to examine the pesticides’ impact across the entire lifecycle of bumblebees, tracked the growth of bee colonies over a four month period.

Researchers exposed half the bees to a pyrethroid while monitoring the size of the colonies as well as weighing individual insects on micro-scales.

They found that worker bees from colonies affected by the pesticides over a prolonged period grew less and were significantly smaller than unexposed bees.

Findings from the study, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (Nerc), appear in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

Professor Mark Brown, who led the Royal Holloway group, said: “Bumblebees are essential to our food chain so it’s critical we understand how wild bees might be impacted by the chemicals we are putting into the environment.

“We know we have to protect plants from insect damage but we need to find a balance and ensure we are not harming our bees in the process.”

Currently a Europe-wide moratorium on the use of three neonicotinoid pesticides is in force because of their alleged harmful effect on bees.

As a result, the use of other types of pesticide, including pyrethroids, is likely to increase, say the researchers.

Dr Nigel Raine, another member of the Royal Holloway team who will be speaking at this week’s national Bee Health Conference in London, said: “Our work provides a significant step forward in understanding the detrimental impact of pesticides other than neonicotinoids on wild bees.

“Further studies using colonies placed in the field are essential to understand the full impacts, and conducting such studies needs to be a priority for scientists and governments.”

The scientists sprayed the pesticide on the bees’ pollen feed at the concentration recommended for oilseed rape.

Colony growth and reproductive output were monitored for up to 14 weeks.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/20/pesticides-making-bees-smaller

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1365-2664/earlyview

After Bihar tragedy, FAO urges cut in hazardous pesticides

http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/07/30/fao-pesticides-bihar-midday-meal-idINDEE96T07520130730?feedType=RSS&feedName=globalCoverage2

Reuters

30 July 2013

(Reuters) – Developing countries should speed up the withdrawal of highly hazardous pesticides from their markets following the death of 23 children from contaminated food in India, the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization said on Tuesday.

The children in Bihar died earlier this month after eating a school meal of rice and potato curry contaminated with monocrotophos, a pesticide considered highly hazardous by the FAO and the World Health Organization.

“Experience in many developing countries shows that the distribution and use of such highly toxic products very often poses a serious risk to human health and the environment,” the FAO said in a statement.

Monocrotophos is banned in many countries but a panel of government experts in India was persuaded by manufacturers that the product was cheaper than alternatives and more effective in controlling pests that decimate crop output.

Although the government argues the benefits of strong pesticides outweigh the hazards if properly managed, the food poisoning tragedy underlined criticism such controls are virtually ignored on the ground.

The FAO said many countries lacked the resources to properly manage the storage, distribution, handling and disposal of pesticides and to reduce their risks.

“Highly hazardous products should not be available to small scale farmers who lack knowledge and the proper sprayers, protective gear and storage facilities to manage such products appropriately,” the FAO added.

Monocrotophos is currently prohibited in Australia, China, the European Union and the United States, and in many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, the FAO said.

(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak, editing by Silvia Aloisi and Elizabeth Piper)