President’s order to ban agrochemical not carried out - response

I refer to the front page news item in The Island today with the above caption. It is hard to believe that the President has taken such a hasty decision without looking into the facts of the matter in depth, ideally through an unbiased expert committee of scientists. The writer is also disappointed that The Island reporter, in this very important issue Mr Bodhi Danapala has also expressed views on this matter again in a letter that appeared in your Opinion Column some days ago. He also call into question the validity of the hypothesis and whether judgment could be reached on that basis.

What we gather is that, in view of other observations the President has decided to investigate into the matter. He should appoint a "Truth Commission"!

We also gather that the Pesticide Technical Advisory Committee chaired by the Registrar of Pesticides, too, has given its observations to the Minister of Agriculture, and trust that the government will make a correct judgment, taking into account all facts of the matter.

Gyphosate is a widely used herbicide both nationally and internationally. Both our plantation and arable crops are heavily dependent on it for weed control. Its ban without an alternative can have far reaching repercussions on weed management and crop production in the country. No pesticide is totally safe. Much depends on judicious and safe use. Moreover, there is no evidence from anywhere else in the world of it having any effects on the Kidney disease. It is not banned in any other country.

Dr. U. P. de S. Waidyanatha

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