NEW DELHI – INDIA’S Supreme Court imposed a temporary ban on Friday on the pesticide endosulfan, which the government has resisted restricting despite curbs in 60 other countries around the world.
India is the world’s biggest producer of the chemical, which is widely sprayed on crops like rice and cotton even though it has been linked to birth defects and other health problems.
The Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia, declared that it was ‘the risk that is bothering us’ before imposing an eight-week temporary ban. ‘Even if one child suffers we do not want it on our heads. That is why we are imposing an all-India ban on the use and production of endosulfan.’
India’s top court has asked the Congress-led government to produce a report in eight weeks on whether the sale and production of endosulfan should be permanently restricted.
Representatives of 127 governments meeting in Geneva last month agreed to add endosulfan to the UN’s list of pollutants to be eliminated worldwide by 2012.
India, which supplies at least 70 per cent of endosulfan globally, initially strongly opposed the global ban. But it went along with the move after winning agreement for a phase-out period of 11 years to give give scientists and farmers time to find alternative pesticides and endosulfan producers scope to adjust.