Probing a pesticide tragedy
In the face of mounting pressure from the media and civil society, the Kerala government has appointed an expert committee to investigate the unusual diseases in Padre, a village in Kasaragod district, Kerala. The village has a number of people suffering from diseases of the central nervous system, which, believe the residents, are due to spraying of the insecticide endosulfan by the Plantation Corporation of Kerala. The committee, headed by environmentalist A Achuthan, will submit its report within three months.
The Centre for Science and Environment has already conducted laboratory tests of the samples collected from the village. The findings were released at a public meeting in New Delhi on February 21 and the report handed over to Mohana Kumar Y S, a doctor and a resident of the village. The tests, conducted by Padma S Vankar, head of ecological and analytical testing at Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, have confirmed the presence of endosulfan in every sample (see