Jayashree Nandi, TNN | Jun 25, 2012, 06.56PM IST
Interestingly, pesticide residues in food was also the theme of actor, Amir Khan’s latest television chat show aired on Sunday. ASHA members who participated in the show presented data to substantiate their claims about how pesticide residues can lead to chronic health problems like cancer.
“Scientific studies have shown that pesticide exposure is correlated with serious health risks including cancers, endocrine disruption causing reproductive health disorders, organ damage, and immune system impairment. There is also much that is wrong with the regulatory system and approach related to chemical pesticides in the country. There are fundamental ways in which the issue has to be addressed, by changes in our technological approach to agriculture as well as in our regulatory approach. We hope to bring about a change collectively, through citizens’ involvement””, explained G V Ramanjaneyulu of Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Hyderabad.
He added that studies have indicated that in India, vegetables, fruits, staple cereals and pulses, meat, milk, eggs and poultry, drinking water and processed foods/beverages are contaminated with poisonous residues to various degrees. “”Delhi High Court’s own testing showed impermissible pesticides in the samples that were picked up. Our export consignments being rejected for their toxic residues are another indicator of the state of affairs,” Ramanjaneyulu said.
The campaign will have a public outreach effort mainly through online mobilization and cyber-action through emails. In Delhi, an organic food mela is being organized on June 30 and July 1 as part of the campaign; in Bangalore, a safe food mela, combined with urban gardening orientation is scheduled for the next weekend. There will be a public march against pesticides at Bathinda, in Punjab’s Malwa belt June 27.
ASHA demanded that the government make appropriate investments be made to promote ecological farming, to ensure access to organic food by establishing safe food outlets and using public distribution system (PDS), providing pesticide-free food under various food schemes to pregnant and lactating women and children and banning those pesticides that have been banned in other countries and known to have chronic health impacts.