Endosulfan Tragedy in Kerala

No End to Endosulfan Tragedy in Karala-Kasaragod

I would like to invite you to Kerala-famously known as God’s own country. Kerala in South India is flanked by the Arabian Sea on one side and the Sahayadri’s on one side and as a result this South Indian state has a lot to offer nature buffs in terms of exotic flora, natural greens and of course birds and wild animals. Evidently Kerala, South India is a land of immense natural beauty and offers undulating stretches of lush green forests generously sprinkled with gurgling waterfalls, colorful blooms, animals and chirping birds. All this and more add to the natural beauty of this picturesque state. Famous for its greenery and natural beauty Kerala is a world famous tourist spot. Kerala has uppermost literacy rate in the nation. But Education and lust to earn more have made keralites fools. They have started clearing paddy fields and coconut farms and turned into cash crops such as rubber and cashewnuts. In the run to greater yield Malayalees are using unethical and harmful pesticides in cashew plantations.

Now let’s visit a district in Kerala – Kasaragod, once known for its greenery today Kasaragod is haunted by diseases and tragedy. Thanks to hamlets of cashew plantations spread along the district. The diseases are side effects of Endosulfan a deadly pesticide sprayed in these plantations. The UNO classifies Endosulfan as highly dangerous insect killer and banned in 62 countries. Even despite the fact that Endosulfan is banned now, for 26 years Kerala Government sprayed the deadly pesticide in government owned cashew plantations under Plantation Corporation of Kerala.

Endosulfan Spraying

While about 500 deaths from 1995 have been officially acknowledged as related to the spraying of Endosulfan, unofficial estimates put the total number of deaths since the late seventies around 4000. The insect killer was sprayed aerially with in particular used helicopters. As the plantations are mostly in mountainous areas, the pesticide drains and gets washed down the slopes during rains into drinking water below. Consuming this water will result in diseases ranging from physical deformities, cancers, birth disorders and damages to brain and nervous system. During 2000-2001 the victims got huge media introduction and resulted in Study on the victim’s. The study of Endosulfan effects showed larger abnormality such as mental retardation, cancer and infertility in the victims. But the pesticide and fertilizer industries were very fast to refuse the studies. Endosulfan is manufactured and distributed in India by Hindustan Fertilizers limited.

It’s clear that the usage of the Pesticide on the Kerala government owned cashew plantation was a result of nexus between Government officials and Pesticide industries. In Kerala all other cashew plantations are grown without pesticides. The Kerala government spends millions on Pesticides to increase yield and have disillusioned the productive land. India is the main producer of Endosulfan in the world and also the consumer. It’s not only Kerala facing the dilemma of Endosulfan, Recent reports show some parts of Karnataka too affected badly by the usage of Endosulfan Pesticide.

Stop Endosulfan

Even though the Kerala cashew plantations corporation has stopped up aerial spraying Endosulfan in Kasaragod instead they have started using a newer pesticide. Endosulfan has been banned for 2 years in Kerala but Kerala Government is discussing about revoking the ban. People are still facing the side effects of Endosulfan in Kerala and Karnataka but the Indian Government has not yet banned the deadly chemical. The Pesticide is still used for cotton and Cashew plantations in many parts of the nation Karnataka, Punjab, Assam and Andhra Pradesh. India needs an effective chemical norm and should ratify a chemical & pesticide policy which would help people affected from chemical accidents & disasters; also stop usage of deadly pesticides for agriculture. Even during the Bhopal gas tragedy Government did nothing for the victims. The Endosulfan victims also were turned down by the Government. It is clear that all these chemical disasters are due to ignorant and negligent policies from the Government.

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17 Comments

17 thoughts on “Endosulfan Tragedy in Kerala

  1. vishakh

    endosulfan is very dangerous thing. the government take it as a good pesticide. It is due to the lack of good officers in that dept. every one want money. The goverment job is not a fantasy, It is a social service. The chief minister of kerala is a good man but his co-operators are too bad
    NAMMUDE SWANTHAM VSe DHEERATHAYODE NAYICHOLU. ORU VISWASAM OPPAM UNDU

  2. We need to get united to eradicate Endosulfan

  3. STALIN

    AS we have been seeing in kerala still some of the parts of kasarcode and karnadaka facing after effects of spraying of endosalfan.We see hat central govt s action on this issue,and what would be their interest, So being a human being in kerala we need to protest the central govt s action and support the V.S ……atlest this to be done for those died and going to die because of endosalfan spraying.

  4. shibujp

    Let me be very clear on this. I believe Endosulfan is responsible for the large scale suffering in Kasargode. BUT – and this is a BIG BUT – it is largely due to the way Endosulfan was used. Any pesticide is bound to be toxic if used inappropriately. The Government of Kerala and the Plantation Corporation of Kerala are responsible for it.

    1. How is the government going to compensate the extra cost of the alternate pesticides?
    2. How is the government going to account for the loss of pollinators (AKA bees etc that actually pollinate plants and result in the fruit or grain)?
    3. What steps has the government taken so far in teh above aspects?
    4. Viewing the crisis in Kuttanad yet again, I am very skeptical that the Government has the will or the capability to draw up any good plan or implementation.
    5. The alternative pesticides are patented. How is the government going to deal with that?

    Anything happens and we get out our begging bowl. It is time we start solving our problems ourselves. Yes ban Endosulfan but show an alternative way.

    The Agriculture minister has professed that Kerala will switch over to organic farming in 10 years. Is he aware that you actually have to bribe agriculture officers just to get information about the subsidies available? Or that if an agricultural loan is sanctioned a percentage or “cut” is taken by the agricultural officers? Pardon my pessimism but it is a lot of talk and hot air. One year and a repeat of last year happened in Kuttanad. Now they are giving handouts to prevent suicides and cover up their incompetence rather than provide the facilities that the farmers actually need – i.e. paddy shelters and combine harvesters. Moral : if you rely on the government for agriculture you will lose your money. Hence the shift to cash crops.

  5. RAHUL

    endosulphan is banned due to the strike put forward by VS Achuthanandan

  6. Ramesh

    We need must be boycott the Endosulfan, it is make more health problems. Endosulfan is very dangerous thing. Why the central govt support Endosulfan.

  7. Jisha

    We need peace, not problems.
    We need life, not profit.

  8. Tina

    Has endosulfan finally been banned??? Kindly reply.

  9. Manjishtha

    Illuminating. A job well done. Kudos.

  10. Mufeed

    This is a big tragedy,I can studied more about this tragedy,thanks to all…

  11. Kichu

    We can stand together to ban ENDOSULFAN

  12. ajith prasad. a. r.

    Please let me know how best i can assist the aggrieved.

  13. Devu

    i hv no words 2 say…my eyes r watering…india should ban endosulfan THE LONELY KILLER OF MANY PEOPLE IN KAZARKODE….

  14. Victims of Endosulfan - Kasaragod

    There is a recent development in the way the government of Kerala is compounding the issue of victims fighting for their rights in the villages of Kasaragod that have been declared by the government as “Endosulfan affected areas”.

    The government is surveying areas for land allocation to new settlers in the Endosulfan afftected villages without first understanding & determining the long term affects of Endosulfan spraying on the local environment ( soil, water & live stock)

    They could potentially be putting more people to risk without informing them about the harmful long term effects of Endosulfan in these areas and resettling them into these affected areas without informing them.

    The least the government could do is to wait for a scientific study to be done in these areas before exposing more peope to the harmful effects by re-settling them in the affected areas under various government schemes.

  15. Vijay Bajaj

    I came to know about this tragedy ( Any adjective, however well framed can’t aptly describe this happening) while studying environmental pollutants. No comment or action can undo the suffering of the victims. I feel that the message should be spread as far as possible so that someone in future may be in a position to contribute to prevention of such an repetition. The videos shown here are in the regional language that I cannot understand. I wish if that can be dubbed in English or the translation in can be displayed in subtitles.

  16. We have already started a project of Organic Farming and convert 2000 ha area into Organic land….

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