Concern raised over hazards of pesticides

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 22:

While environmentalists raised serious concern over the piling stock of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in Nepal, a government official said it would cost Rs 210 million to initiate disposal of such hazardous chemicals. Nepal has a total of 75 metric tonnes of obsolete POPs, among them some are the most dangerous pollutants ever produced, said Ganesh KC, official under the ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives ministry. He said this while addressing a talk programme on Problems of Persistent Organic Pollutants in Nepal, organised today by Nepal Forum for Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ). Nepal has been the signatory of Stockholm Convention on POPs since 2002 along with other 190 countries but the government has done nothing towards disposing POPs, he said adding, all the parties to the convention should dispose POPs by 2025 to keep environmental hazards at bay. The government after the promulgation of Pesticide Act 1991 and Regulations 1993 has deployed pesticide inspectors in 71 districts.

“Of the 12 chemicals known as POPs, nine are pesticides and three industrial chemicals,” Dr Toran Sharma, environment expert, said. Sharma further said stocking of POPs for long period in and around human settlements are harmful to the people. “POPs can be carcinogenic, allergic and cause loss of human immunity power,” he said adding, “disposal should be done in environment friendly manner.” Mohan Mainali, an environmental journalist, blamed the government’s negligence in managing obsolete pesticides.