This is the campaign we launched in July 2011. It is not a new theme. We have been fighting against the Agrochemicals for over 3 decades. We are much aware of the 12 POPs which include 6 pesticides. However, all pesticides, weedicides and fungicides are harmful to the human, other living being and to the ecosystems.
Immediate reason for revamping the Pesticide campaign is the recent controversy on Arsenic in Pesticides. Some researchers from the Universities of Kelaniya and Rajarata claims that they found Arsenic in Pesticides and they believe that is the reason for the unidentified kidney disease in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. This disease has killed more than 20,000 people already and another 20000 people are suffering from the disease at the moment.
However other researchers say the reason is not the Arsenic in Pesticides but Cadmium in Fertilizer. Others claim it is high Fluoride levels in water. Some others say it is due to the Cyanotoxin which is a result of Cyano-algae found in some reservoirs.
“We do not wish to limit the campaign against pesticide just because it has Arsenic. Pesticide includes Mercury, Cadmium and other heavy metals as well. However the active ingredient itself is highly poisonous” says Hemantha Withanage, Executive Director of the Centre for Environmental Justice/ Friends of the Earth Sri Lanka.
The open Forum held on the 7th July 2011 was organized by the Centre for Environmental Justice, Vikalpanie, Sri Lanka Soba Samuhikaya, MONLAR, New Era, Swarnahansa Padanama, Buddhist Actions on the Nature and number of other organizations. Over 200 farmers, CSO members , environmentalists, Academics and many other professionals joined the event.
• complete ban of all harmful agrochemicals
• support organic farming
• ensure right to live and right to health for the people in Rajarata and nearby areas
• bring strict regulations to control all agrochemicals
• stop distribution of low quality fertilizer and
• ensure food and water safety.