NHRC notice to Punjab over serious diseases in Malwa

Excessive use of pesticides and insecticides have left residue of heavy metals in soil and ground water

GN Bureau | January 31, 2018


#cancer   #insecticide   #pesticide   #Health Ministry   #Human Rights   #Environment   #Green Revolution   #Malwa   #Punjab   #Health  
A farmer working in a rice field on the outskirts of Ludhiana
A farmer working in a rice field on the outskirts of Ludhiana

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the chief secretary of Punjab and the secretary of union ministry of health for a detailed report within six weeks on the situation in Malwa region where excessive use of pesticides and insecticides have left residue of heavy metals in soil and ground water causing various serious diseases to many people.

 
The commission was acting on a media report that quoted a study conducted by the Baba Farid Centre for Special Children in this regard, as well as stories of some affected people from different villages in the region.
 
The two authorities have been asked to inform the commission about the steps taken, after the year 2012, when it had disposed of the matter following the state’s assurance for an affirmative and prompt action.
 
To read more about the situation back then, read our ground report from 2012:
 
The commission has observed that it seems that even after more than seven years, there is no improvement and people in Malwa continue to suffer from various diseases including cancer, liver failure, renal failure and birth defects.
 
The media report highlighted how heavy metals are reaching the environment in dangerous amounts from reckless human activities due to their use in products like pesticides, herbicides, medicines, paints and cosmetics.
 
Punjab, especially Malwa region, has been reeling under the ‘cocktail effect’ of heavy metals, the commission noted in a press release on Wednesday. The Green Revolution of the 60s and 70s resulted in dumping of dangerous chemicals such as endosulfan and these pesticides are still in use in Punjab, long after they were banned. Dr JS Thakur, professor, School of Public Health, PGI, who is reviewing the studies on the presence of heavy metals in Punjab has stated that the levels of arsenium, fluoride, inorganic pollutants, pesticides and other heavy metals are beyond permissible limits in the water due to which people residing in the area are suffering from various diseases including cancer which is a multi-factorial disease.

 

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