Academics, GMOA call for probe into pesticide control officials’s assets

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

University teachers such as Prof. Saroj Jayasinghe, Dr. Channa Jayasumana and Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya would request President Mahinda Rajapaksa to issue an order to declare the assets of officials attached to the Pesticide Technical Advisory Committee.

Dr. Jayasumana said that though President Rajapaksa had issued an order to ban glyphosate but they had not been carried out by the relevant officials so far. The academics who were in favour with the latest scientific research forwarded by the university teams are of the view that the officials attached the Pesticide Technical Advisory Committee may have been bribed by chemical companies to delay the implementation of the presidential order.

He said that even Prof. Jayasinghe was of the view the chronic kidney disease should be renamed ‘chronic agro-chemical nephropathy’. Because some urine tests results were compatible with chronic interstitial nephritis and histology had confirmed the latter even in those with minimal proteinuria. The chronic agro-chemical nephropathy was an improvement upon all of these, since it pointed more directly to the most likely trigger of the disease. There was no dispute over the fact that the chronic kidney failure was due to the use of harmful agro-chemicals, he stressed.

GMOA President Dr.Anuruddha Padeniya, contacted for comment, said that the recent scientific research conducted by the Sri Lankan scientists on the chronic kidney disease had been ignored by the policymakers.

Even the President was convinced that agro-chemicals were solely responsible for affecting people’s kidneys, he said.

Multinational agro-chemical companies could buy decision-makers for a song in Sri Lanka, he said. The GMOA would also join the university academics in requesting President to order to the officials attached to the Pesticide Technical Advisory Committee to implement the presidential order.

Director General of Agriculture Dr. R. R. A. Wijekoon, contacted for comment, said that so far no apparent cause for the chronic kidney disease had been found in Sri Lanka. The research team which concluded that glyphosate was the root cause for the kidney disease had earlier concluded that arsenic and cadmium were the causes. The statements issued by the research team were contradictory. The research was merely a hypothesis. If the government banned the glyphosate the economy would collapse.

Dr. Wijekon said the paddy cultivation and the tea plantation would suffer irreparable damage in such an eventuality. "We have decided to meet President Rajapaksa and convince him of the danger of such action," Wijekoon said.

Registrar of Pesticides Dr. G. A. W. Wijesekera said that the chronic kidney disease and chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology were two different diseases.

CKDu occurred in few endemic areas of the country while CKD was known to occur throughout the country. It had not been proved beyond doubt that the CKD was caused by agro-chemicals, he said.

The same agro-chemicals had been introduced to the country to increase agricultural productivity and farmers had been adequately warned of their harmful effects and precautions to be taken, Dr. Wijesekera said.


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