The pesticide market in Sri Lanka needs many reforms!

  • 40 active ingredients considered as Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) among the
    permitted pesticides in Sri Lanka.
  • 14 active ingredients identified as HHPs were found in Pesticides recommended for
    domestic use.
  • Insufficient attention on occupational diseases in farmers
  • Use, storage and disposal of pesticides needs to be trained and monitored.
  • It’s time to adopt agroecology as a national policy.
    The Centre for Environmental Justice prepared a report on Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs)
    found in Sri Lanka and detected that permitted pesticides under the Gazette extraordinary No.
    1994/71 of 24 th November 2016 in Sri Lanka, contains 40 active ingredients considered as Highly
    Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) among the permitted pesticides in Sri Lanka, with reference to the
    PAN international consolidated list of banned pesticides, 6th Edition, May 2022. Shockingly, this 40
    included 14 active ingredients identified as HHPs Among those recommended for domestic use.
    This effort was financially assisted by the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN).
    “HHPs related health issues is a major concern of the toxicologists today. Researchers have shown
    their links to cancers, tumors, nervous system disorders, reproductive problems, immune system
    effects, as well as endocrine system disruption. But we as a country has given the least attention to
    this problem. The impact on women and children due to exposure during labor or while
    accompanying the family at crop fields, has not been properly studied or documented for Sri
    Lanka”, Hemantha Withanage, Senior Advisor, Centre for Environmental Justice.
    On average, within 5 years, 2181 metric tons of herbicides, 1183 mt of insecticides, and 896 mt of
    fungicides were imported to Sri Lanka annually. They are all released to soil, water, and air of the
    country, creating many exposure pathways to these hazardous chemicals in addition to the direct
    exposure of farmers that handle these chemicals in their cultivation.
    “The Survey conducted by CEJ from January to March in 2023, using 373 male and female farmers
    in 9 districts, detected malpractices in using, storing and disposing of pesticides such as mixing
    unknown chemicals to obtain better results, taking pesticides containers for other uses, open
    dumping of empty containers, burning empty pesticide packets, mixing and spraying pesticides
    without proper personnel protective Equipments were some of these. The cloths and masks are not

proper PPEs that prevent skin exposure to pesticide sprays”, Supun Sanjeewa, Environment Officer,
“CEJ has been engaging in several programs with farmers to warn on the toxicity of pesticides to
farmers. But, attitude towards the alternatives, insufficient awareness on health and environmental
impact as well as insufficient availability of alternatives found to be main constraints in deviating
from toxic agrochemicals. We need strong commitment from both the government, political
structures as well as officers at ground-level working closely with farmers”, Dilena Pathragoda,
Executive Director, Centre for Environmental Justice.
Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) is a national-level environmental organization working for
the promotion of Environmental Good Governance and Environmental Justice. CEJ engages in
scientific research, policy advocacy, environmental litigation and promoting citizen science. CEJ
continues its active engagement to ensure chemical safety in consumer products for the sake of
present as well as future generations.
IPEN is a network of over 600 non-governmental organizations working in more than 120 countries
to reduce and eliminate the harm to human health and the environment from toxic chemicals.

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