Endosulfan

MAY 19

Preliminary   > Environment and Ecology   >   Pollution   >   Soil pollution

Why in news?

  • The Supreme Court has slammed the Kerala government for the State’s inaction towards the apex court’s 2017 judgment, which had ordered the State to pay ?5 lakh each to the victims in three months.

About Endosulfan:

  • Endosulfan is an organochlorine insecticide and acaricide that is being phased out globally due to its acute toxicity.
  • It does not occur naturally in the environment.
  • It is highly toxic and has a large potential for bioaccumulation.
  • It is also an endocrine disruptor.

Ban:

  • In 2011, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants initiated a global ban on the manufacture and use of this chemical because of its threats to the environment and human health.
  • It is listed under the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent.
  • In India, a 2011 Supreme Court order has banned its production and sale until further notice.

Endosulfan Uses:

  • Endosulfan is primarily used as an insecticide in agriculture and it is also used as a wood preservative.
  • It is used primarily on food crops like tea, fruits, vegetables and on grains.
  • It is used against cabbage worms, whiteflies, leafhoppers, aphids and Colorado potato beetles.
  • Due to its unique mode of action, it is useful in resistance management; however, as it is not specific, it can negatively impact populations of beneficial insects.
  • It is, however, considered to be moderately toxic to honey bees, and it is less toxic to bees than organophosphate insecticides.

Effects of Endosulfan in humans:

  • This pesticide is a known carcinogen, neurotoxin and genotoxin (damages DNA).
  • Endosulfan blocks the inhibitory receptors of the CNS, disrupts the ionic channels and destroys the integrity of the nerve cells.

Case study:

  • From the mid-70s, Kerala villages used aerial spraying of endosulfan on 4,600-ha. cashew nut plantation. Locals reportedly experienced illnesses, palsies and deformities.

PRACTICE QUESTION

Consider the following statements regarding Endosulfan

1. It was primarily used as an insecticide in agriculture and also used as a wood preservative.

2. It is listed under the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent.

3. Use of endosulfan is banned by Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1,2 and 3

Answer