A Deadly Damage

Aamir Khan presented a highly informative and educative episode on the ‘Toxicity of Pesticides’ in his ‘Satyamev Jayate’ this week. Though the media and the enthusiastic NGOs keep projecting the serious effects of the pesticides and insecticides, this one was more vivid and it was not just a presentation of the problem without solutions. It was gratifying that the recommendations came with practical examples and experiences. 

What started as a stunning statement of a massive 800% than acceptable level of pesticide concentration in mother’s milk by Dr. Rashmi Sanghvi of IIT, Kanpur the programme progressed on more gruesome, pathetic and shocking visuals of the population both children and adults by pesticide poisoning. There was another blow when Dr SG Kabra from Jaipur explained that how disfigured babies are born because of this poison. In Punjab, it was shown that a train running between Bathinda and Bikaner is named as ‘Cancer Express’ which mostly transports innumerable cancer patients for treatment to the hospital. 

There were persons who subscribed to the ideas and methods of organic farming and also practice them successfully. Dr Ramanjenyulu from Center for Sustainable Agriculture promotes it very credibly by increasing the quantum of beneficiaries every year. It is believed that though organic farming is safe, it could reduce the yield and some in the beginning mentioned that pesticides provide a cosmetic look to the fruits and vegetables which are a fatal attraction to the buyers. The yield may be less at the initial stages, it was said, will be improved in the following years. Educating the farmers about the advantages of organic farming is the most important point underlined in the show.  

The bad part of the issue was the illogical and meek defense shown by Mr Rajju Shroff, CMD, United Phosphorous Limited from Gujarat, a major pesticide manufacturing unit. The worse part was that his company is doing a huge business in India and he was obviously nervous and spoke without clarity and called all those who spoke about the pesticide poisoning as liars. The worst part came much later that his family, in fact, his brother is the biggest exporter of organic pesticides to other countries while he is manufacturing and trading poison without qualms. 

In fact, this show showed the chemical industry, which it belonged to, in a poor light and the greed of the Indian population and traders who are only interested in making profits rather than opting for safeguarding agriculture and mankind. The programme showed that Sikkim government had completely done away with the pesticides and it should be an eye opener and role model to all the other states of India and also to the central government. 

Pesticides like Endosufan and Chloropyrifos have been banned by the government already; but violation of bans and rules are very common in India. Aamir Khan has given a clarion call for the closing down of the pesticide industries indirectly. But will he be heard or will the message go just like any other serious issue like scams and corruption? 

We have to wait and watch.

Read also: 
Poison in the Menu   
Are we being slow poisoned? 


More by :  G Swaminathan

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Views: 3388      Comments: 6

Comment Thank you very much Mr. Murthy Iyer for your comments. I am sure with every passing episode, Amir Khan is loosing credibility of Mr. Nice Guy and credebility of the show. How can he charge 3.5 Crore or the show and ask for charity at the same time.
His program is full of manipulations.

28-Jun-2012 08:42 AM

Comment Thanks Mr. Swaminathan. Some people have been sending donations and also sending SMSs to show their solidarity with Aamir Khan.It is surprising to know that all donations and revenue generated thro SMSs goes to: The trust consists of people from one community and may be they are all related to Aamir Khan. Some of the objectives of this trust are:

(1) Masjid construction assistance.
(2) Placement for islamic Youngsters.

Is it proper to use National platform and gullibility of the audience to raise money for an insular trust.

Suresh Mandan
26-Jun-2012 13:05 PM

Comment He is not doing these in public interests, certainly not for the cause of the nation.

Let me add to the argument some more ground. Why only chemicals and pesticides, when he and his team surveyed, they must have come across usual problems in vegetables - the amount of micro organisms. Specially in metros, they are found in plenty, much beyond permissible limits, for example in one of the reports it mentioned certain vegetables contained 8 to 70 times more micro organisms than permitted.

Obviously, when food dept. of Local, state and central govt are not taking actions, there is certainly contribution to the problem from mis-governance.

As I understand from the article, Mr. Khan did not highlight either of them.

The nutrient contents of the vegetables available in metros is another big issue.

But if the topic was of presence of toxic material in food, then micro organisms matter certainly. Missing info or missed info ?

And when Mr. Amir Khan is going to point fingers at the government directly for such issues ?

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
26-Jun-2012 06:55 AM

Comment Thank you Mr Iyer and Mr Mandan for enlightening me on some of the biased facts projected in the program. As a chemical engineer I too know the lot of hue and cry made by the NGOs on every chemical industry for closure.It is also true that many of the chemical plants give least preference for safety and security. Since Mr Shroff was weak in his defense, and his own brother is doing organic pesticide and exporting which was revealed in the program I felt the program carries credibility. I know the program would have been edited for precision and for convenience, but if Mr Shroff's portion had been edited purposely by the producers, it is another sort of corrupt practice. The major fact is in India the enforcing authorities and the government and certain NGOs also are positively work for MONEY and nothing else. The moral values take a back seat. Now I understand here also Mr Khan is trying to do the same thing in a different manner. If so, it is sad.

G Swaminathan
25-Jun-2012 23:02 PM

Comment Dear Mr. Swaminathan
Enlightened to read your analysis. Well Mr. Shroff was brave enough to face the heat and meekly defend his business. How many others would come.Why no Political leader is invited to answer all this mess. Where are those wiser than thou communist leaders of Kerala who turned Kasargod into virtual hell for 2 decades. It is not that there is garbage only in this field ? Look at the film Delly Belly produced by Aamir Khan and his family. There is so much of verbal garbage in the film. And that song DK Bose. Aamir has done well to take up these subjects but yet he is not doing it free....just 3.50 crores per episode plus the money which comes to his NGO.

Suresh Mandan
25-Jun-2012 16:49 PM

Comment Mr. SWAMINATHAN do not get carried away with Mr. Amir Khan's programme and one side of the story. ASK HIM WHETHER HE USES INSECTICIDES IN HIS HOUSE. Ask him why did he not TELECAST THE FULL SPEACH OF SHRI RAJJU SHROFF and the Challenge he made to him. Why was Mr. Shroff's statement edited.

In India and other country there are strict Regulation in place for manufacture, sale, distribution and use of Insecticides. Ask Amir Khan or use your brains why did he invite only NGO's and why not the Regulatory Authorities viz. scientists from Central Insecticides Board. Why did he not invite people from the Agricultural Ministry or Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers or Ministry of Environment. ENDOSULFAN was invented and registered in 1954 and used all over the world till 2000 There was no ill effect in any part of the world where it was used. All of a sudden in 2000 Dr Mohan kumar came to know its ill effects in Kerala. He claimed to be staying in Kasargod and treating Endosulfan effected patients since 25 years, why was he not effected till now staying in the same environment. Ask him what was his bank balance in 1980 and what it is now, what is his source of income, which will reveal the truth.

There was no problem with the product till the expiry of its Patent, all problem started when it became generic. ENDOSULFAN was used in a big quantity in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Utter pradesh compared to the quantity used in PCK plantations, kasargod, kerala, which would be even less than 1% used in other states. One needs to understand why effect in Kasargod and not in other states. Poison does not differentiate state to state not play politics like Amir Khan. You cannot feed a population like in India with ORGANIC Farming. ARE Advanced countries fools to use Insecticides? Is Amir going to feed Indian Population with his Organic Farming?.

Murthy Iyer
25-Jun-2012 12:53 PM

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