Written By: Observer staff
Article Date: Jul 15, 2008 - 3:41:21 AM
Many dangerous pesticides threaten public health and environment.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation confirmed that Yemen’s imports of pesticides fell to 464 tons during the first half of this year, compared to 824 tons in the same period of 2007.
Saleh al-Baishi, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation and Agricultural Affairs Assistant, said that the ministry and the General Department for Plant Protection (GDPP), gave permission for just 464 tons of pesticides to be imported to Yemen thus far in 2008. He also said that just 170 tons have already arrived.
“I also expect that this rate will continue to reduce, reaching 750 tons at the end of this year,” said al-Baisha. “Such a reduction in pesticide imports is a positive indicator of Ministry efforts against pesticide hazards,” he continued.
The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation also confirmed that the GDPP’s campaign to inspect shops dealing with pesticides has greatly helped to reduce the different kinds of pesticides from 1,024 in 2006 to 400 in 2007. “The ministry also aimed to reduce these kinds to just 200 or 150 at the end of this year.”
As with many other Yemeni governorates, 34 pesticide shops were closed by the ministry in Al-Mahweet Governorate during June. The shops, including some groceries stores, did not have any permission to deal with pesticides.
The General Director of the GDPP, Abdullah al-Siani, said that the campaign by the GDPP in Shibam, Al-Rajm, Al-Mahweet, Al-Tawila, Al-Khabt and Hafash districts in Al-Mahweet Governorate captured more than 309 kilograms per liter of pesticides. About 200 kg/liter of these pesticides were seized in some groceries, where they were put close to food staff. In this campaign, 16 shops were closed as well as 18 groceries. “People who are working in these shops will be prosecuted,” he said.
“We should fight against those traders who destroy our food and our generations’ future,” said Ali Mohammed Mujawar, Prime Minister, during the National Conference of Pesticides which was held at the end of January to develop effective machinery for exchanging pesticides and decreasing their health and environmental hazards.
“Such random use of pesticides has become a serious problem since it badly affects the quality of the different Yemeni agricultural products,” said Mujawar. “So, we will use our various methods to expose such traders and take decisive legal measures against those people who exploit others’ needs in order to achieve their personal interests,” he affirmed.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 22,000 Yemenis are annually diagnosed with cancer and about 60 percent of this number dies from the disease. This means that 12,000 people afflicted with the disease die every year. The WHO also shows that just 25 to 30 percent of those people could be treated, with only 10 to 15 percent of those treated people being able to live more than one year.
“It is often caused by smuggled and banned pesticides used in growing qat, vegetables, and fruits,” said Dr. Nadeem Mohammed Saeed, the director of the National Oncology Center. Many pesticides have a poisonous effect on people. Using such pesticides for long periods cause people some serious diseases. The consumption of these pesticides is one of the major causes of stomach cancer and renal failure.
About 30 percent of cancer patients have mouth and gum cancer resulting from the use of such pesticides in the agriculture, said Dr. Saeed. This is one of the highest rates of this type of cancer in the world.
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