Ministers to discuss worsening kidney disease spread

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

Minister Special Projects (For the Prevention of Kidney Diseases) S. M. Chandrasena yesterday said that he would meet Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena next week to discuss the spread of the chronic kidney disease and licences issued by the Pesticides Technical Advisory Committee under Minister Abeywardena for importing deadly agrochemicals to Sri Lanka.

Minister Chandrasena said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had granted Rs. 450 million to cultivate traditional rice varieties without depending on agrochemicals in 100,000 acres in the next Maha season in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Moneragala, Kurunegala, Hambantota and Ampara districts. Seed paddy for such varieties would be provided to the farmers free of charge.

Each CKD affected family in the disease endemic areas would be given Rs. 3,000 per month instead of Rs.1,000 on the instructions of President Rajapaksa. Each CKD affected family could receive the payment through post offices. Around 100 water purification plants had been installed in the North- Central province, Ampara and Vavuniya Districts and another 100 plants would be set up in other affected areas shortly.

Minister Chandrasena warned that CKD had become a national crisis today. More and more kidney patients were being detected in various parts of the country. As Minister in-charge of Special Projects for the Prevention of the Kidney Disease, he would do everything possible to minimise the use of agrochemicals in Sri Lanka, he said.

Glyphosate was widely being used by the tea planters and paddy farmers to eliminate weeds. Research conducted on glyphosate had revealed that it caused renal failure in humans who drank glyphosate contaminated water. Even the urine samples tested in majority of CKD patients contained particles of glyphosate, the Minister said.

Minister Chandrasena said that the Special Projects Ministry had formulated a plan to prevent people from potential water sources contaminated with agrochemicals and food sources and even evacuate people from CKD endemic areas.

They were also trying to assess the success or failure of measures already adapted to combat CKD, Minister Chandrasena said.

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