Thursday, December 03, 2009

Groups Across Asia Commemorate No Pesticide Use Day; Take Action Against Highly Hazardous Pesticides

DAVAO CITY,Philippines - On December 3, 1984, twenty-seven tons of lethal pesticide fumes leaked from Union Carbide’s factory in Bhopal, India. The leak immediately killed about 8,000 people and injured more than 500,000. Tens of thousands have died from the toxic exposure in the years since, and the death toll continues to rise as a result of long-term effects.

In commemoration of the world’s worst chemical disaster in 1984, Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific and its partners commemorate “No Pesticides Use Day” every year, to draw attention to the continuing life threatening impacts of chemical pesticides on people and the environment.

This year, PANAP and its partners draw attention to the dangers that highly hazardous pesticides pose to health and the environment. These highly hazardous pesticides are silent Bhopal disasters which continue to happen.

“The people continue to suffer to this day. Pesticide Action Network Philippines joins the Bhopal survivors to demand that both Union Carbide and its new owner Dow Chemical stop evading their liabilities and provide just compensation to their victims”, said Dr Romeo Quijano, President of PAN Philippines.

“We demand that governments fulfill their mandate of protecting the fundamental human rights to health and to a healthful environment by ensuring that agrochemical companies are adequately regulated and made accountable for the harm done because of irresponsible pursuit of profits,” Dr Quijano added.

PAN Philippines and its partner organizations are spearheading local campaigns to increase public awareness on the dangers of highly hazardous pesticides and the aerial spraying of pesticides, especially in banana plantations.

“We support the action of Davao City banning the aerial spraying of pesticides and are encouraged by the pending bills in Congress seeking a nationwide ban on aerial spraying of pesticides,” Dr Quijano said.

“The availability of highly hazardous pesticides, lack of information and knowledge of their hazards, aggressive marketing by industry as well as poverty, illiteracy, and lack of health facilities in the rural areas make pesticide poisoning a serious public health problem,” he said.

PAN Philippines had been collaborating with groups in Mindanao and Visayas in holding a host of events, including public fora, community awareness meetings, streamer hanging, distribution of pesticide information materials, film showing and others.

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