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Supreme Court bans endosulfan

Ruling following UN-backed call for global ban, initially for eight weeks

An Endosulfan victim in Bobykanam village in Kasargode district of Kerala An Endosulfan victim in Bobykanam village in Kasargode district of Kerala
  • Ritu Sharma, New Delhi
  • India
  • May 13, 2011
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The Supreme Court today banned the sale, manufacture and use of endosulfan, a pesticide which has been blamed for numerous deaths and health problems.

The ban is to remain in force for eight weeks while an expert committee presents the court with an interim report on the insecticide’s effects.

The three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia, also directed all states to freeze manufacturing permits until further notice. Production of endosulfan is estimated to be a US$ 50 billion industry.

‚ÄúWe welcome the Supreme Court's timely decision. The judgement should go a long way¬†to address the legitimate grievances of the victims,‚ÄĚ said father Babu Joseph, spokesman for the Catholic Bishops‚Äô Conference of India.

The court ruling came after an NGO, the Democratic Youth Federation of India, filed a public interest litigation which sought the ban.

The UN-backed Stockholm Convention has also finalized a draft proposal for a worldwide ban on endosulfan, with a five-year period to implement it. The proposal was unveiled at a meeting in Geneva on April 25-29.

Endosulfan has been blamed for a large number of deaths and genetic deformities in 11 villages in Kerala’s Kasargod district. It was widely used in cashew plantations in the area until 1981.

The Kerala state government banned it in 2005 and has since been pressing for a countrywide ban, as have church groups  including the Syro-Malankara Church.

‚ÄúThe Church wholeheartedly supports the campaign because a lot of people are suffering,‚ÄĚ said Major Archbishop Isaac Mar Cleemis of Trivandrum.

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