Chemicals banned in the
developed countries are exported to third world countries including Pakistan
By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Jan 03 - 16, 2000
Farzana Panhwar, is the president of Sindh Rural Women's Uplift Group.
She is committed to work for improving the lot of the rural women and addressing the
serious issues faced by the agriculture sector in Pakistan. She did her Masters in
Bio-chemistry from University of Karachi in 1981. She worked on soil chemistry, macro and
micro nutrients, composts, organic fertilizers and growth regulators as applied to fruit
crops and post harvest technology of sub-tropical fruits. Her outstanding research work in
the agriculture sector has already been acknowledged by the United States where she was
awarded Gold Medal of Honour. She is the author of a large number of articles published in
the prestigious magazines and newspapers around the world. Despite devoting her best for
the cause of agriculture sector she was not given due recognition in Pakistan what really
PAGE: In the light of your extensive research in the
field of composts and organic fertilizers what is the future of synthetic fertilizers and
pesticides in Pakistan.
FARZANA: Pakistan imports almost all plant protection
chemicals from abroad. Criteria for standaridization of chemicals are their ability to
kill crop enemies, without any regards to adverse effects of chemicals on human health and
environment. Of the chemicals allowed for import in Pakistan 31 per cent have been banned
in UK and USA since 1982.
PAGE: Would you like to identify the banned chemicals
allowed in Pakistan.
FARZANA: Referring to a survey she conducted of 202
chemicals on the standardized list of the government published in the official Gazette on
Sept 14, 1994, she was horrified to know that out of 202 standardised chemicals for local
use, 63 of them are banned or their use has been restricted in the United Kingdom and USA
since 1982 yet they are still imported and sold in Pakistan.
PAGE : Are these banned chemicals are dangerous for
FARZANA: These chemicals are responsible for serious
diseases in human beings, polluting ground water used for drinking purposes for both human
and animals and toxic to some animals. Such chemicals are manufactured and sold under
different names. Some of them are Dicofol, Benomyl, Captan, Chlorothalonil, Copper
Compound mancozen, Copper Oxinate, Copper Hydroxide, Cuprous oxide, Metiram, Thiophanate
Methyl, Triadimefon, Ametryn+Atrazine Meolachlor, Thidiazuron and Amitraz etc.
PAGE: When these hazardous chemicals are banned who is
producing them ?
FARZANA: The tragedy is that while a chemical is
banned for use in developed countries, it is allowed to be manufactured in the very
countries for export abroad and essentially to the Third World countries. For the
manufacturing countries it is not only foreign exchange earner but producer of employment
and source of taxes to the government. Such chemicals do harm in the Third World countries
specially the health hazards.
PAGE: Are the buyers of these chemicals are not aware
of the danger
FARZANA: We all are opposed to chemical war-fare and
want destruction of all such manufacturing plants in any country. In this class of
chemicals the governments are the buyers and spend huge amount on them secretly. The use
of chemicals in war fare is illegal and immoral as per International Conventions and the
culprit countries if found are punished severely. In case of farm chemicals which have
already proved to be dangerous, there is no ban on their manufacture or export. The ban is
only on their use within the country of origin. Two types of chemicals for use in war-fare
or on crops are health hazards and even cause deaths and yet farm chemicals banned for use
in the developed countries are allowed to be exported to developing countries, she
PAGE : How do you see the future of agriculture sector
FARZANA : Said with a bitter smile on her face that
those who work sincerely in this country are always cornered by the people of vested
Citing the example of injustice with her, she recalled her nomination
as a delegate to the United Fourth World Conference on Women, by Sindh Rural Women Uplift
Group at Beijing International Convention Center from Sept. 5-15, 1995. Despite her
registeration and accreditation as a participant in the conference she was not allowed to
attend the conference while two flights full of so called representatives recommended
purely on political considerations were allowed to waste the opportunity by taking the
occasion for a joy ride.