Endosulfan Pollution: A backgrounder

Endosulfan Pollution: A backgrounder

  • Endosulfan is an organochlorine compound present in several pesticides used on crops like cashew, cotton, tea, paddy, fruits.
  • Staring from 1978, endosulfan was aerially sprayed in the cashew plantations of Kasaragod district of Kerala as insecticide.
  • By 1990s, in more than 20 gram panchayats in Kasargod district, endosulfan had caused serious illnesses to animals and humans.
  • Following this, The Plantation Corporation of Kerala had stopped aerial spraying of endosulfan in 2001.
  • However, since the half-life of endosulfan ranges from 9 months to 6 years, babies born to the exposed population continued to be born with genetic disorders and physical deformities.


Harmful effects

  • Endosulfan is a potent neurotoxin that has serious effects on animals and humans including
    • Children being born with congenital disabilities, hydrocephalus, diseases of the nervous system, epilepsy, cerebral palsy etc.
    • Reproductive morbidity, sexual maturity congenital anomalies and cancer in younger ages.
    • Infertility in the women 30 years and older Mass deaths of bees, fishes, frogs, birds, foxes
    • Congenital deformities in domestic animals like cow


Steps to ban endosulfan in India

  • In 2002, the Kerala High Court banned the sale and use of endosulfan in Kerala.
  • The Supreme Court in 2011 passed an ad-interim order banning production, sale and use of endosulfan in the country till further orders.
  • Accordingly, the Central Government issued instructions to all State Governments/Union Territory Administrations to implement the interim order of the Court in full, which are binding on all manufacturers.
  • India being a signatory to Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants has banned export of endosulfan.
  • In 2017, the Supreme Court directed the Kerala government to pay a compensation of Rs 5 Lakh to about 5,000 victims of Endosulfan pesticide pollution.
Section : Science & Tech