An article by New Delhi colleague Devinder Sharma, in the Daily News [Thursday 23rd] highlights the shameful nexus between politics, industry, economists and scientists which has led to hundreds of Indian people dying from poisoning by the pesticide Endosulfan.
We need not relax, considering this far away and irrelevant, because Endosulfan has now been banned in the European Union and many other countries; in this country other pesticides and approved medical drugs are harming human health.
The unholy alliances Sharma mentions are seen in many countries, clearly in Britain and the USA. He writes:
“As a nation we feel outraged if a patient dies due to a doctor’s neglect. We force the government to imprison the engineer when a bridge collapses. But we remain quiet when hundreds of people die from pesticides poisoning.
For the past few weeks, Kerala has been witnessing an unprecedented uproar over a human disaster that a potent chemical pesticide — Endosulfan — has caused. Approved for use in cashew nut plantations, the pesticide has killed close to 1,000 people, chronically disabled more than 10,000 inhabitants with neurological disorders, paralysis and deformities, but is still being pushed for commercial application. Endosulfan was considered safe for humans and the environment by the Kerala Agricultural University and the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR).
”This reminds one of the Agent Orange gas used by the Americans to defoliate forest covers in the Vietnam War.
- U.S. Huey helicopter spraying Agent Orange over agricultural land in Vietnam
Like Endosulfan, Agent Orange, too, was considered safe for humans. And 40 years later, none of the scientists who approved it have been persecuted nor has the company that manufactured and marketed Agent Orange been hauled up for war crimes. [Read more on Len Aldis’ website]
”Public sector science is now becoming subservient to private interests. Take the case of the Inter-Academy Report on GM crops prepared by the top six academies — the Indian Academy of Sciences, Indian National Academy of Engineering, Indian National Science Academy, National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, National Academy of Medical Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.”
The report was criticised for plagiarism by environment minister Jairam Ramesh contending that it did not “appear to be the product of rigorous scientific evaluation” and there were many other accusations that it blatantly sided with the commercial interests of the biotechnology industry.
Sharma believes that there can be no pardon for six distinguished science academies producing a report that is just a public relation exercise on behalf of the biotechnology.
He ends by insisting that it is time to stem the rot, that this scam is much bigger than TV channels indicate and that it is destroying human lives.
Will there ever be a worldwide disruption of the ‘unholy alliances’ between politicians, industrialists, economists and scientists – a ‘political cleanup’- and governments in the global interest established?
Learn more: http://www.ejfoundation.org/page246.html
Pictures of affected children: http://stateofkerala.in/news/endosulfan_insecticide.php