Brinjal is one of the most popular vegetables of Bangladesh. The government recently approved Bt brinjal's commercial cultivation in the country. This is an unnatural brinjal that has been produced by inserting bacterial genes so that a new toxin is produced within the plant for the control of Fruit and Shoot Borer (FSB) pest on brinjal. What has not been showcased however is that FSB can be controlled effectively by means other than chemical pesticides and GM technology, and there is evidence within the Bangladesh agri-research establishment on this.
Bt brinjal has been rejected for the many risks it poses to human health, biodiversity and environment, in countries like India and Philippines. This has been done after independent analyses of the data and claims presented by the crop developers. Bangladesh should not take up an irresponsible and irreversible experiment on its citizens by approving Bt brinjal especially when safer alternatives can be promoted with farmers.
We urge the government to be 'responsible to science and responsive to society' as has happened in other countries where this Bt brinjal was sought to be pushed by the profit-hungry biotech industry, where the decision was against the introduction of Bt brinjal. Bangladesh should also ensure that its citizens do not become lab rats in an unaccountable experiment - we are urging the Government to annul the approval that has been given for commercial cultivation.
Join me in asking the government to cancel this approval. Spread the word and get your family and friends also to send this petition.
- The President of People's Republic of Bangladesh,
- Ministry for Environment and Forests, Government of Bangladesh
- Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council
ANNUL APPROVAL FOR BT BRINJAL COMMERCIAL CULTIVATION IN BANGLADESH
Sub: Urgent intervention to stop the release of Bt brinjal for commercial cultivation in Bangladesh
We, citizens of Bangladesh and the global community of citizens who are concerned about biosafety issues of Genetically Modified Organisms, and have also followed closely the American, corporate maneuvers of trying to push an unwanted, unneeded and unsafe GMO in the form of Bt brinjal in countries like India and Philippines unsuccessfully, are now aghast to find that Bangladesh government has opted for an unscientific decision and allowed this Bt brinjal to be released for commercial cultivation.
This is the same brinjal which was proven to be unsafe and inadequately tested, by various independent analysts who are renowned experts in their fields who also took the initiative to write to the Bangladesh authorities sharing their analyses; this is the same brinjal on which India placed an indefinite moratorium; this is the same biotech product on which Indian authorities are proceeding on charges of bio-piracy; this is the same GMO on which the highest court in the Philippines has stopped field trials. All of this has been done based on a thorough analysis of the various implications of this GM food with the Bt toxin produced inside it, to be consumed more or less directly by human beings, for the very first time anywhere in the world.
When more and more countries around the world have chosen not to go in for GMOs like Bt brinjal and when increasing scientific evidence points to a variety of negative impacts to be expected from transgenic technology, it is baffling that Bangladesh government will subject its citizens to this irresponsible and irreversible experiment with transgenic organisms, making its own citizens guinea pigs.
Not a single new additional study with this Bt brinjal has proven it to be safe, after India and Philippines took their decisions based on a precautionary approach. It is very unclear what basis did Bangladesh adopt in deciding to go ahead with Bt brinjal commercial cultivation, despite having rich native diversity which will now be endangered.
Further, it appears that the decision was taken in a hasty manner even though the matter is of a critical importance as far as safety of our food and environment are concerned. Trade security of Bangladesh could also be jeopardised seriously because of this decision. It appears that stakeholders have not been consulted, even though a good precedent of democratic decision-making after public consultations exists in the region.
It is very unfortunate that Bangladesh government, which is now in Poll time period (next election is in January, 2014) has taken a step for a policy disregarding public opinion and which has serious implications for its people as consumers, for farmers and for environment. It is also a matter of concern that there is no statute governing biosafety regulation in Bangladesh other than some guidelines.
We write to you to urge the Government of Bangladesh to urgently reconsider and revoke its decision. There are many sustainable, safer, farmer-controlled, affordable alternatives to Bt brinjal and the Government must show that it stands on the side of sustainable development, on the side of its citizens and environment and even the future generations by shunning the Bt brinjal option and promoting ecological alternatives for pest management in crops like Brinjal. The conditions that were laid down for the Bt brinjal approval are not based on good analysis of the safety of this product, nor can they actually contain the GMO in any way, going by the enormous experience with even small open air releases in the form of “confined trials” all over the world. Hoping that Bangladesh will take a healthy decision in this matter and say NO to Bt brinjal in the country,
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