Illegal pesticides keep threatening human health, the environment and biodiversity in developing countries

Farmer applying pesticide manually in groundwater-irrigated field in Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Karen Villholth).

Illegal pesticides, both clandestine as well as imported pesticides not authorized for use in developed countries, continue to be used on a large scale in developing countries, not only causing disproportionate harm due to their additional toxic characteristics, but also because the users, often smallholder farmers, have little training and tools for proper practices in the handling, use and disposal of agrochemicals. This provides an unacceptable health burden on millions of farming communities worldwide, in small scale farming as well as larger agribusinesses. Furthermore, it constitutes an underrecognized violation of the human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment as stipulated in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution 48/13. WCI raises this issue together with other experts in the field through an editorial of DevelopmentAid on ‘Illegal pesticide use in developing countries: risks and solutions’ elucidating the causes behind. The piece points to similar issues across different geographic and agricultural contexts in these countries, indicating that this is a systemic issue, rather than single-standing problems.

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