Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
WHO report prompts march on pollutants
Dangerous levels of cyanide and heavy metals in groundwaterFarmers march in Colombo to demand restrictions on toxic fertilizers
- ucanews.com reporter, Colombo
- Sri Lanka
- December 17, 2012
Hundreds of farmers marched on Friday in the capital to protest risks to their livelihoods including arsenic poisoning from chemical pesticides and threats from land confiscation and increased urbanization.
The protest, which drew about 400 farmers, priests and activists, was organized by the Center for Society and Religion.
“We urge authorities to stop the use of pesticides and chemical products harmful to the environment and to return to natural and sustainable agriculture,” said Matilda Adikaram, president of the People’s Forum in Anuradhapura, who participated in the march.
Environmental groups have argued that more than 20,000 farmers have died as a result of commonly used pesticides, which contain high levels of cyanide, mercury and arsenic that have leeched into groundwater supplies.
A report by the World Health Organization published in August said that chemical pollutants in groundwater have affected about 15 percent of the population between the ages of 15 and 70.
“Follow the recommendations of the World Health Organization on Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology,” said Adikaram, adding that the government should strengthen water purification schemes in farming areas.
According to the report, “the majority of men and women suffering from this disease excrete raised levels of arsenic and/or cadmium in their urine.”
Dr Channa Sudath Jayasumana, a member of the medical faculty of Rajarata University, said the government should follow WHO recommendations.
“The general public should be made aware of the risks and it is important to apply safety and control measures,” he said.
Protesting farmers also called attention to the impact of new development projects on farmland and the failure to provide protection from the encroachment of wild animals, specifically the threats posed by wild elephant populations.