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A new report being presented to the UN human rights council this will state that the long-held belief that pesticides are essential to feed a “fast-growing global population,” is in fact, a myth. The report is very critical of the global corporations who manufacture pesticides, and go so far as to accuse them of “systematic denial of harms”, “aggressive, unethical marketing tactics,” and the heavy lobbying of governments which has “obstructed reforms and paralyzed global pesticide restrictions,” reports The Guardian.

From the article:

“Chronic exposure to pesticides has been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, hormone disruption, developmental disorders and sterility.” It also highlighted the risk to children from pesticide contamination of food, citing 23 deaths in India in 2013 and 39 in China in 2014. Furthermore, the report said, recent Chinese government studies indicated that pesticide contamination meant farming could not continue on about 20% of arable land.

‘The industry frequently uses the term ‘intentional misuse’ to shift the blame on to the user for the avoidable impacts of hazardous pesticides,’ the report said. ‘Yet clearly, the responsibility for protecting users and others throughout the pesticide life cycle and throughout the retail chain lies with the pesticide manufacturer.’”

It is GOOD NEWS that the authors of the report agreed that pesticides were having catastrophic impacts on our environment and human health; every year there are an estimated 200,000 deaths from acute poisoning. It’s long past time for us to find a better way because population growth isn’t slowing down: the world’s population is set to grow from 7 billion to 9 billion in 2050.
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Obviously, the pesticide industry argues that their products are of vital importance (if you count lining their coffers with about $50bn a year, and growing) but according to Hilal Elver, the UN’s special rapporteur on the right to food, many of the pesticides used today are actually used on commodity crops, palm oil and soy, and NOT the food the world’s hungriest people need. She said, “The corporations are not dealing with world hunger, they are dealing with more agricultural activity on large scales.”
In order to feed our world and not utterly destroy our planet in the process, the UN is recommending a global treaty to govern the use of pesticides and at the same time, move toward using sustainable practices (i.e., natural methods of pest suppression and crop rotation). They also recommend using an incentive program to increase the number of countries who organically produced food.
We can get behind that idea.

 

Source: The Guardian