December 3rd, International Day of non-use of pesticides. Why commemorating this date?
We commemorate the December 3rd as International Day of No Pesticide Use to make a call to reflection and awareness of the global population on the serious social and environmental problems generated by the use of pesticides globally.
This date was established by the 400 members of the Pesticide Action Network, International PAN (Pesticide Action Network), in 60 countries, recalling the more than 16,000 people died as a result of the disaster in Bhopal India, which occurred in 1984 by the leak of 27 tons of toxic methyl isocyanate gas, used in the development of a pesticide in the Union Carbide Corporation. This chemical disaster occurred in a densely populated area and only in the first three days 8,000 people died.
In addition to other serious accidents in the world since the imposition of monoculture agriculture with intensive use of pesticides, air, soil, water and food have been contaminated, causing serious imbalances in the ecosystem, and death of the wild life. We also have serious impacts on agricultural biodiversity and changes in cropping patterns. It has also accelerated the process of deforestation and removal of vegetation cover, with serious loss of fertility of our soils.
In Latin America, the use of pesticides has caused the poisoning of millions of people and has claimed thousands of victims, many of them children. However, no one has taken responsibility for these crimes remain unpunished.
According to the epidemiological surveillance program of the Ministries of Health of the Pan American Health Organization in 7 Central American countries said that every year 400,000 people are poisoned by pesticides. Meanwhile, in the Southern Cone in Brazil alone an estimated 300,000 cases occur annually, making pesticide poisoning a serious public health problem.
To this is added the problem of chronic poisoning, which causes serious diseases, including cancer, birth defects and abnormalities in immune systems, neurological and reproductive behavior, among others. Pesticide use also raises the risk of cancer in women and the risk of engendering children with malformations. Cases of poisonings that occur daily in our country among the farmers and people have contaminated adjacent to the most vulnerable children and women, resulting in severe and chronic sequelae, as has been noted in a recent study that was conducted in the Bella Union. It should be noted that Uruguay is the Latin American country with the highest rate of cancer, the second cause of death. Every day two people die from this disease and there are three new cases.
Of all the chemical hazards faced by the population, pesticides pose the greatest threat.
Uruguay does not escape this reality. In recent years there has been a considerable increase in the use of pesticides and have even appeared on sale in our country that substances were not used nearly as in the case of endosulfan, an insecticide classified as highly toxic. Emerging market is largely due to GM crops with other pesticides, such as glyphosate, marcozeb, cypermethrin, methyl parathion, 2,4 D, atrazine, and the list is long.
The market for agrochemicals in Uruguay continues to grow. In 2003, imported nearly U.S. $ 9 million fungicide, increasing their use between 3 and 5 times in the last 5 years, heading the list is mancozeb which is highly toxic and carcinogenic. In relation to the insecticides were imported nearly U.S. $ 7 million including endosulfan, cypermethrin, chlorpyrifos and methyl parathion ethyl. Herbicide were imported in U.S. $ 27 million to top the list glyphosate, its use has tripled over the past 5 years.
In our country, the massive use of pesticides will continue to increase if it continues to support a production model based on both forest and large agricultural monocultures, GMOs and / or conventional.
The World Day of No Pesticide Use calls the government to prohibit the registration and use of pesticides highly hazardous for human health and the environment.
Supporting Organic Agriculture is the alternative to achieve a clean and healthy environment for all.
Action Network on Pesticides and their Alternatives in Latin America (RAP-AL)