Sale of fertilizers, pesticides rampant in Kaski district

- ISHWORI NEUPANE, Pokhara

Mar 29, 2015-

The rampant sale and distribution of fertilizers and pesticide has become a major cause for concern in Kaski district, posing major health risks for the locals in the long run.

Although retailers need to meet specific criteria and obtain a permit for selling such bio-hazards, local businessmen have been found selling all kinds of hazardous chemicals in the district. While the law deems the sale of fertilizers without permit as illegal, these bio-hazard materials can be found aplenty in all kinds of retail shops ranging from local corner shops, departmental stores and unlicensed agro-vets in the district.

Moreover, owing to the lacklustre security measure, absence of proper market supervision, and the porous and open border, such hazardous chemicals wrapped in polythene bags are found being sold like any other household products by salespersons reaching the doorsteps of locals. While some of these can prove extremely lethal if handled improperly, others contribute to various diseases over the long-term.

According to local businessmen, fertilizers worth millions are bought each year. And admitting that unlicensed outlets were selling these hazardous chemical agents, they said that the sale from the existing number of licensed agro-vets alone could not meet the demand. There are only 65 licensed agro-vets in Pokhara, the district headquarters of Kaski and one of the main tourists hubs of the country.

During a programme organised to discuss about ways to check the illegal use, sale and disposal of the fertilizers and pesticides on Saturday, stakeholders stressed on the immediate need of a policy to regulate its sale and distribution. Stating that all kinds of retailers sold the fertilizers, chairperson Narayan Gautam of the Seed Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal said that hazardous fertilizers such as synthetic, pyrethroid, cyder-methane were being sold as pesticides against mice and various insects.    

Likewise, police said that these chemicals are also found to be used by some individuals for committing suicide due to its easy availability. According to the data made available by Western-Regional Police Office, some 119 people in the western region had used these chemicals to take their own life last year. Due to the ineffective supervision and weak legal action, such poisonous substances are being sold openly and used rampantly by farmers ignorant about its multiplier negative effect on the environment as well as public health, said senior seed conservation officer Dhan Bahadur Rana.

And although the government has made arrangements for the appointment of “fertilizer supervisor” in each district, the post has remained vacant in the district since Rana was transferred from the District Agriculture Development Office (DADO) to the Regional Office. Furthermore, the government has neither designated an area for the proper disposal of such chemicals nor has maintained a record of their supply and application. Although the government has set guidelines for the disposal of biodegradable and non-degradable chemicals, it is yet to be put into practice.   

However, the DADO along with concerned stakeholders have decided to work in coordination to conduct awareness programmes with assistance from Pokhara Chamber of Commerce and Industries and the Sub-Metropolis about their proper application and disposal.

Published: 30-03-2015 09:50

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