Govt. restricts import of fertiliser containing heavy metals



By Don Asoka Wijewardena

The government on the recommendation of the CKD Research Team will cut down on 24 per cent of the Rs. 20 billion annual imports of Triple Super Phosphate (TSP) which contains heavy metals such as cadmium, mercury, uranium, lead and arsenic. Sri Lanka has been importing 100,000 MT of TSP per annum at a cost of USD 600 per one MT.

National Project for the Prevention of Chronic Kidney Disease Director Rajarata University Lecturer Dr. Channa Jayasumana told The Island that his research team had brought to the notice of the government that one main reason for the rapid increase in non-communicable diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and various forms of cancer was the careless use of fertiliser containing heavy metals. It was called (Pesticides Chronic Low-Dose Exposure).

Dr. Jayasumana pointed out that the recommendations by the research team had been accepted by the government for implementation from next year. Under the direct supervision of the government around 24 per cent of imports of TSP annually would be curtailed. The government was convinced a sudden ban on TSP would adversely affect farming, but it was determined to restrict the use of fertiliser containing Triple Super Phosphate gradually, Dr. Jayasumana said.

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said it had been scientifically proved that heavy metals in various fertilizes caused many non-communicable diseases (NCDs). He hailed the government’s decision to restrict the Triple Super Phosphate imports.

CIC General Manager Agrochemicals Indika Gunawardena, contacted for comments, said that his company submitted samples of the various agrochemicals to the Pesticide Technical Advisory Committee (PTAC) for evaluation. It was very hard for various food crops to yield a better harvest without the use of agrochemicals. The same was true of tea, he added.

Gunawardena said that Triple Super Phosphate had not been found to be injurious to human health. The TSP was essential for the better growth of tea and other major food crops in the country. Whatever the samples submitted by the company to the PTAC, the final recommendation had to come from it to get the import licence. If the PTAC did not approve the sample whether it was triple super phosphate contained fertiliser or any other, the company could not import it, he said.


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