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Center Restricts use of Glyphosate

  • 01 Nov 2022
  • 4 min read

For Prelims: Glyphosate, Herbicide, Insecticides Act of 1968

For Mains: Environment and Health Problems related to use of Herbicides, Pesticides.

Why in News?

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has restricted the use of glyphosate, a widely used herbicide, citing health hazards for humans and animals.

  • The new notification mandates that all certificates of registration for the chemical that companies have to get for its manufacture or sale have now to be returned to the registration committee.
  • Failure to do so will result in appropriate action being taken under the Insecticides Act of 1968.

What is Glyphosate?

  • About:
    • It is an Herbicide, developed in 1970.
      • Herbicide is an agent, usually chemical, for killing or inhibiting the growth of unwanted plants, such as residential or agricultural weeds and invasive species
    • Its scientific name is N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine under the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) system of nomenclature.
  • Application:
    • It is applied to the leaves of plants to kill weeds.
  • Usage in India:
    • Glyphosate was highly accepted by the tea planters in the past two decades. It has a very good market size in the tea sector of West Bengal and Assam.
    • Presently, its consumption is highest in Maharashtra as it is becoming a key herbicide in sugarcane, maize and many fruit crops.

What are the Concerns?

  • Health Impacts:
    • Health impacts of glyphosate range from cancer, reproductive and developmental toxicity to neurotoxicity and immunotoxicity.
      • Symptoms include irritation, swelling, burning of the skin, oral and nasal discomfort, unpleasant taste and blurred vision.
    • Some 35 countries have banned or restricted the use of glyphosate.
      • These include Sri Lanka, Netherlands, France, Colombia, Canada, Israel and Argentina.
  • Illegal Use:
    • In India, glyphosate has been approved for use only in tea plantations and non-plantation areas accompanying the tea crop. Use of the substance anywhere else is illegal.
    • However, a 2020 study by Pesticide Action Network (PAN) India on the state of glyphosate use in the country had worrying findings, glyphosate was being used in more than 20 crop fields.
    • Majority of those using the weedicide were not trained for doing so and did not have the appropriate safety precautions.
  • Threatens Agro Ecological nature of Farms:
    • The rampant use of glyphosate in non-designated areas has severe consequences.
    • Allowing continued use of glyphosate in India will contribute to widespread use of illegal herbicide tolerant crops.
    • This will endanger the agroecological nature of Indian farms, apart from spreading the toxic effects to people, animals and the environment.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question

Q. In India, the use of carbofuran, methyl parathion, phorate and triazophos is viewed with apprehension. These chemicals are used as (2019)

(a) pesticides in agriculture

(b) preservatives in processed foods

(c) fruit-ripening agents

(d) moisturising agents in cosmetics

Ans: (a)

Exp:

  • To promote organic farming, Department of Agriculture, Kerala, has ordered a ban on the use of around 17 pesticides since 2011.
  • List of Banned Pesticides
    • Insecticides: Cabofuran, Methyl Demeton, Methyl Parathion, Monocrotophos, Phorate, Methymol, Prophenofos, Triazophos, Endosulfan
    • Fungicides: MEMC, Ediphenphos, Tricyclazole, Oxythioquinox
    • Weedicides: Anilophos, Paraquat, Thiobencarb, Atrazine
  • Therefore, option (a) is the correct answer.

Source: DTE

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