Endosulfan, Hazardous Effects & Ban, Regulatory Regime

TH | Prelims + Mains | GS3 > Environmental Pollution & Degradation > Persistent Organic Pollutants

  • Context: Spraying of Endosulfan on cashew plantations in Kasaragod, Kerala has caused disorders in many.

What is Endosulfan?

  • Endosulfan is an organochlorine insecticide — a Persistent Organic Pollutant.
  • It is primarily used as an insecticide in agriculture & it is also used as a wood preservative.

Ban on Endosulfan

  • India was one of the biggest producers & consumers of endosulfan.
  • After the toxicity of the pesticide came into limelight in 2001 in Kasargod District, Kerala banned it.
  • In 2011, SC banned the production, distribution & use of endosulfan in India.
  • SC also directed the Kerala government to pay Rs 500 crores as compensation to over 5,000 victims.
  • Globally, the use of endosulfan is banned under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
  • Under pressure from pesticide firms, India sought remission on the ban for 10 years.
  • India has agreed to phase out the use of endosulfan by 2017. 

Hazardous Effects of Endosulfan

  • It is highly toxic & has a large potential for bioaccumulation (substance does not leave the body).
  • It has hazardous effects on human genetic & endocrine systems.
  • Endocrine disruptor: enhances the effect of estrogens causing reproductive & developmental damage in both animals & humans.
    • Delayed reproductive development
    • Late sexual maturity
    • Autism
  • Neurotoxic: endosulfan destroys the integrity of the nerve cells.

Pesticide Regulatory Regime in India

  • India currently has a registered list of 295 pesticides & 746 approved formulations.
  • These pesticides are registered by the Registration Committee (RC).
  • The Central Insecticides Board (CIB) acts as an advisory body.
  • The two regulatory bodies are governed by the Insecticides Act, 1968 & the Insecticides Rules, 1971.
  • The Act & Rules intend to “regulate the import, manufacture, sale, transport, distribution & use of insecticides with a view to prevent risk to human beings or animals”.
  • Since its inception, the CIBRC (as they are together called) registers pesticides upon receiving applications along with efficacy, toxicity, & safety data from the company.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture has the authority to cancel registrations & allow continued use or in some cases even ban the pesticides upon the recommendation of the RC.

There is a near-total collapse of pesticide regulation mechanism in India

2020 Notification on Draft ban order

  • In May 2020, a notification consisting of a draft ban order was released by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, proposing a ban on the manufacture, sales, & imports of 27 pesticides in India.
  • Several are WHO Class I pesticides (‘extremely hazardous’ & ‘highly hazardous’), some are classified as probable human carcinogens, some documented for their toxicity on bees, fish, earthworms, etc.
  • Several are implicated in fatal pesticide poisonings whether it is occupational, or accidental.
  • 24 of the 27 pesticides are banned in other countries.
  • Many of these have been part of 2015 Anupam Verma Committee reviewed 66 “bannable” pesticides.
  • At the behest of the industry, the Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals cited Covid-19 pandemic situation as an excuse in proceeding with the draft ban order.
Notable pesticides in the list of 27 proposed-to-be-banned pesticides
  • Carcinogenic: Oxyflourfen, Pendimethalin (causes Thyroid follicular cell adenoma)
  • Endocrine disruptor: Dicofol, Carbofuran, Oxyflourfen
  • Eco-toxic: Carbofuran, Monocrotophos, Carbofuran, Oxyflourfen

Deemed to be Registered Pesticides or DRPs

  • DRPs are pesticides that were in use before the Insecticides Act of 1968 & could be used on the assumption that they would be registered once the mandatory data on efficacy & toxicity is generated.
  • There are at least 51 such DRPs.
  • Six of these have been withdrawn, eight have been banned & five are to be phased out by the end of 2020.
  • The list of DRPs is not readily available on any government website (lack of transparency).
  • Importantly, 17 of the 27 proposed-to-be-banned pesticides are DRPs.
  • These biosafety (safety to human health & environment) of these DRPs was never assessed.
  • Bio-safety data submitted & review committee reports are shrouded in secrecy.
  • They have been turned down even under RTI.
  • They all are being considered registered, irrespective of the data submitted.
  • No other nation is known to be following such an arbitrary, risky, & unscientific regulatory practice.
  • Many of the DRPs have been banned in various countries, even decades ago.
Sharing is Caring !!

Newsletter Updates

Subscribe to our newsletter and never miss an important update !!

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Year(s) = Validity of the Downloads

1 Year Validity == Validity of the Download links (both Static & Current Affairs) is 1 Year from the date of purchase.

2 Years Validity == Validity of the Download links (both Static & Current Affairs) is 2 Years from the date of purchase.

We strongly recommend a 2 Year Plan as the UPSC Cycle lasts for close to 2 Years.

For example,

If you purchase the notes with “Download Validity == 1 Year,” on 29/11/2022, then you will be able to download the Static Files + Current Affairs files till 30/11/2023.

If you purchase the notes with “Download Validity == 2 Years,” on 29/11/2022, then you will be able to download the Static Files + Current Affairs files till 30/11/2024.

If we bring out the Updated (New) Editions of the Static Files within your membership period, you will be able to download them without paying anything extra.

Irrespective of the package you choose, Current Affairs of Geography, Environment, Sci & Tech and Indian Agriculture are available from Jan 2022.

Current Affairs of 2021 & earlier are available for free on PMF IAS Google Drive Folder.

Once the payment is made, you need to log in to the Downloads Page to download the files (check your email for the login details).

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and never miss an important update!