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LMIPPE February 2002

scratching his wound with stone to stop the itching. Children have become susceptible to frequent illness, showing a deterioration of the immune systems. Doctors are forced to give high doses of antibiotics even to contain minor fevers. People were also complaining of

hearing and vision loss. complaints were too common.

Asthma

and

breathing

Since the middle of the nineteen seventies, nature has been sending warning signals of impending danger to

people

in

these

villages.

It

came

in

the

form

of

mass

death of chicken

honeybees, fishes, also started dying

frogs and birds. of sudden and

Cows and mysterious

reasons. dwindling worried at

Over some time, fox and there was many a these warning signals.

population mind that

started silently

In 1979, a farmer in Padre realised that reason for three of his calves born with deformed limbs and having stunted growth could not be just attributed to his fate. Moreover, he had just read that pesticides like Endrin

could

actually

cause

such

effectsi.

The

evidence

that

could prove such a still he reported it to wrote the first article

hypothesis was lacking then, but a local journalist Shree Padre who “Life cheaper than Cashew” in “The

Evidence” (Dec.1981) Endosulfan, which was

and raised a doubt that being aerially sprayed in the

plantations in environmental already there.

his village problems. The people

was the cause for The first warnings started complaining.

such were In

1984,

two

panchayaths

passed

resolution

not

to

spray

pesticide by air as there is large-scale drift and caused for cattle and people. When the local

problems MLA Sri.

Subba

Rao

became

Minister

he

ordered

the

suspension

of

the

aerial

spraying.

The

aerial

spraying

in

some

areas

was

suspended

for

nearly

two

years.

In

1988,

the

PCK

wrote

to

National

Research

Centre

for

Cashew

(NRCC)ii

for advise on the Mosquito Bug which

crop protection against the was affecting their plantation.

Tea The

NRCC

recommended

endosulfan

use

concentration.

All through these years aerial

endosulfan

was

continuing.

But

it

is

now

at 0.05% spraying of learnt that

this

dosage

was

never

followed

as

it

was

found

to

be

ineffective to control the health problems started places in Kasaragod as clubs, cultural clubs and

bug. More and more news of being reported from all other well. Local sports and arts community organisations were

taking serious view of these passed resolutions and also

problems. complained

Many of them to the District

Collector, who is the In 1994, the Kerala

authority to permit aerial spraying. Sastra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP)iii

alleged that the problem is caused by insecticide asked for stricter regulations in the aerial spraying.

and By

this time, the dailies started

local print media including the major reporting the issue of health problems

and spread of strange diseases The people also started agitating.

and health disorders. Surprisingly, in 1997,

Dr. EVV Bhaskara Rao, the recommended aerial spraying at

Endosulfan

35EC.

He

added

that

am

also

to

mention

that

aerial

Director of NRCC 1% concentration of “ In this connection I spraying trials were

conducted in the PCK orchards method was standardised for the

and

the spraying

first

time in the

Thanal

Nature has been sending warning signals of impending danger to the people in these villages.

Stunted grown calves with deformed limbs

Honeybees were one species immediately affected by the endosulfan spray.

Dozens of honeybee boxes lie idling in homesteads today

7

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