The Bold Voice of J&K

Dangerous fruits!

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Pesticides in vegetable, fruits are a common phenomena which raises the point how safe is to consume them and what are the alternatives. A Delhi High Court Bench said the issue of pesticides was not only limited to Delhi but was a pan- India problem which needed to be addressed by authorities at the earliest. The Court had earlier taken suo motu cognisance of a media report and directed the Agriculture Ministry to set up a committee and frame guidelines to prevent use of pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables. The move had come after some NGOs had submitted surveys that vegetables and fruits sold in the city markets contained pesticides capable of causing cancer and harming the nervous system and liver. One of the NGOs had claimed that out of the five internationally-banned pesticides, four were found to be common in the vegetables sold in the market, including a central nervous system toxin endrin which caused nausea and dizziness and heptachlor that could damage the liver and reduce fertility. It was apprised that in a number of vegetables and edible items, pesticide residue was found to be beyond permissible limits. This is an issue everywhere. Earlier, the Bench was informed by amicus curiae, appointed by the Court to assist in this matter, that many countries have banned the import of vegetables and fruits from India due to the excessive use of pesticides. Way back in 2003 the Supreme Court had issued notice to Centre on a plea for a ban on the use of pesticides on vegetables, fruits and other food products while taking up a petition filed by an NGO expressing concern over the alarming levels of pesticides contamination in the country. The NGO had pointed out that 36 pesticides and insecticides banned in the developed countries were being used in India. It demanded the setting up of a body to prescribe maximum residue levels, according to international standards. The situation has not changed much because of the market economics which looks for profits and less of human care.

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