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Pesticides Act needs urgent amendments – CEJ

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The Center for Environmental Justice (CEJ) said Sri Lanka’s Pesticides Act needs many new amendments and among the approved pesticides in the country, there are 40 highly hazardous pesticides. 

Its senior advisor, Hemantha Vithanage said that there are 14 highly hazardous pesticides among chemicals approved for household use.

He points out that there is little attention to work-related diseases among farmers and claims that it is a violation of human rights. He further expressed the following views: “Environmental agriculture is the best solution to all problems. As revealed by the report prepared by the Environmental Justice Center on highly hazardous chemicals, 40 of the chemicals recommended by Extraordinary Gazette No. 1994/71 issued on November 24, 2016, have been added to the 2022 consolidated list of banned pesticides of PAN international. It includes 90 highly hazardous chemicals, 14 of which are chemicals recommended as household pesticides. This report was financially supported by the International Pollutants Elimination Network – IPEN.

“Hazardous chemicals are currently a major topic among the world’s toxicology groups. Various research groups are revealing the relationship between these chemicals and cancer, nervous system disorders, reproductive system problems, effects on the immune system, as well as effects on the endocrine system. But we As a country, have given minimal attention to this issue. Sri Lanka has not properly studied or recorded the impact of pesticide exposure on women and children as a result of work or family farming. Data from the past five years revealed imports of 2181 metric tons of herbicides, 1183 metric tons of insecticides, and 896 metric tonnes of fungicides, which can be ingested by humans indirectly through soil, air, and water, as well as once-consumed food.

“From January to March of this year (2023), we observed many wrong practices of farmers in the use, storage and disposal of pesticides in nine districts, using 373 male and female farmers as a sample. There are other misuses such as open disposal or open burning of empty packages, mixing and spraying of pesticides without proper protective equipment. .”

Supun Sanjeeva, Environmental Officer of the Environmental Justice Center said: “The Center for Environmental Justice conducts various programmes to raise awareness about the harmful conditions of chemical use. However, negative attitudes about alternatives, little knowledge about the environmental and health effects of pesticide use, and the lack of organic substitutes in the market are the main obstacles to organic agriculture. This transformation requires a strong commitment from the government, as well as from the grassroots level officials who work with the farmers.”


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