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  • Context (TH): Pesticide poisoning cases in Maharashtra are in frequent news.
  • Pesticides are substances intended for pest control in agriculture, food production, and animal care.
  • Health impacts include nausea, vision impairment, photosensitivity, loss of stamina, and even death.
  • No antidote is available in the market for most pesticide poisoning cases.
  • Examples of Hazardous pesticides and insecticides: Profenophos, Fipronil, Acephate, Difenthiron( in pesticide “Polo”), Ekalux and Monocrotophos.

Status of Pesticides in India

  • India ranks 2nd in pesticide production and is the 5th largest exporter globally.
  • Maharashtra, especially Vidarbha, utilises 50% of India’s pesticides, notably in cotton farming.

Regulation of Pesticides

  • Pesticide Registration is carried out by the Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine & Storage (DPPQS) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
  • Insecticides Act(1968) governs the import, manufacture, sale, and use of insecticides & pesticides.
  • Central Insecticides Board & Registration Committee (CIBRC) under the Ministry of Agriculture regulates insecticide usage, manufacturing, import, and sale.

Issues in pesticide regulation

  • Despite international bans, India permits at least 116 hazardous pesticides, posing health risks.
  • Attempts to ban certain pesticides resulted in reversals, with limited bans enforced in 2023.
  1. Committees suggesting bans:
    • Anupam Verma Committee, SK Malhotra Committee, Registration Committee and S K Khurana Committee (2020) recommended banning some 27 pesticides.

    Pesticides in the tropic levels

    • Bioaccumulation is the gradual accumulation of pollutants & chemicals in an organism.
    • Biomagnification refers to a progressive increase in concentration at each tropical level.

Way Forward

  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques and bio-pesticides (environmentally friendly) are being used to counter pests.
  • Expensive Molecular target-specific low-toxicity pesticides are also safer alternatives.
  • Dr. Punjabrao Deshmukh Organic Agriculture Mission (2018) was started in Maharashtra to promote organic farming.
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