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Oct 01st
Home Columns Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. DENR Chief Urged to Stop Aerial Pesticide Spraying in Davao Farms
DENR Chief Urged to Stop Aerial Pesticide Spraying in Davao Farms PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - This Week With Nene Pimentel
Monday, 12 January 2009 15:17

S enator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today urged Secretary Lito Atienza of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to exercise his authority in completely banning the aerial spraying of pesticides of banana plantations in Davao and other areas in Mindanao due to its harmful effects on human health and the environment.


S enator Pimentel decried that agri-business firms that own the banana plantations in Davao City have defied an ordinance passed by the city government prohibiting the aerial spraying and enjoining them to switch to the safer method of ground spraying.


He said that while the problem essentially falls within the domain of the Department of Agriculture, it is the DENR that is empowered to enforce the laws to regulate the use of poisonous substances that endanger the health of the people.


“DENR Secretary Atienza should immediately ban aerial spraying of pesticides in the Davao cavendish banana plantations despite the opposition of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap,” the senator from Mindanao said.


Senator Pimentel expressed concern over the plight of farmers and members of their families who have contracted respiratory ailments due to constant exposure to the toxic pesticides that spread to their villages.


Studies by the National Poison Management and Control at the University of the Philippines show that fugicides used in banana plantations, such as mancozeb and chlorothalonil, can cause asthma and are carcinogenic.

The farmers have complained that even their farm animals have died while their coconuts and other fruit trees have wilted because of the chemical pollution.


Senator Pimentel recalled that during his stint as mayor of Cagayan de Oro City, farmers came to him to complain that pesticide residues are washed away by rains and carried to the deep wells and springs where they get their drinking water.


T he pesticides are used to kill the fungus that attacks the leaves of banana plants and causes premature aging of fruits.


The big-time banana growers are reluctant to shift to manual ground-spraying of pesticides because they would supposedly incur bigger expenses resulting in the reduction of their profits.


“But it must be emphasized that the health and welfare of the people should not be sacrificed in the name of the business interests of the owners of the banana plantations,” Mr. Pimentel said.


He said the plantation owners in Davao City should comply with the ban against aerial spraying imposed by the city government instead of running to the courts to block the implementation of the ordinance.


Studies conducted by the National Poison Management and Control at the University of the Philippines have shown that fugicides commonly used in banana plantations, such as mancozeb and chlorothalonil can cause asthma and are possibly carcinogenic. # # #

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 January 2009 00:35

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