Urge the state governments to institute pesticide-free buffer zones around schools
Can we still do more to protect children from toxic pesticides?
Yes we can! And you can definitely help by supporting our call for pesticide-free buffer zones around schools.
Schools are meant to be safe sanctuaries for children to learn and grow but terrifyingly children in Asia are consistently being poisoned in these supposedly safe learning environments. Children in schools are being exposed to pesticides via reckless aerial spraying and spray drifts that target their young developing bodies.
The world celebrates International Children’s Day every 20th of November. For this year, PANAP and its partners demand state governments to set up a 1 km or more buffer zones around their schools. You help bring about change by supporting them too!
Children must be protected from pesticide drifts. We do not want a repeat of the incidents in Mendocino and Ventura Counties (California, USA), Davao del Norte (Philippines), Nuwara Eliya District (Sri Lanka), and most recently in Po Ampil Primary School in Cambodia, where more than 30 children were poisoned by pesticides during schooling hours alone.
It is evident through numerous studies that pesticides negatively impact the life, health and intelligence of children and thus violate the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. CRC recognizes the child’s “inherent right to life” and that the survival and development of the child should be ensured to the “maximum extent possible”.
Available information show that pesticides drift hundreds of meters from the area of use at health-harming concentrations for days and even weeks after application, especially in rural areas in India, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Philippines, Sri Lanka and many other countries in Asia. 1.5 billion children in Asia are estimated to live in rural areas.
Children’s right to a healthy life should always be of utmost importance over any growing corporate interest. It is unacceptable that countries in Asia continue to be the toxic dump site of pesticides mainly peddled by developed countries. Inadequate laws and regulations in this region should be overhauled specifically for the best interest of our children.
Pesticides users and farms using pesticides in the vicinity of schools should be supported to move towards non-chemical alternatives and agroecology.
We, the PAN Asia Pacific (PANAP) and its partners, together with the global community, thus ask the governments to declare pesticide-free buffer zones around schools that would protect children from harmful exposure to pesticides. As an initial risk reduction measure, the buffer zone must have at least a 1km radius.
Making this landmark declaration on the occasion of the International Children’s Day would be a meaningful gift to humanity.
Help us create awareness on pesticide-free buffer zones and realize that it can have the power to protect our future generations from toxic pesticides.
Hoping for your full support in this fight to protect our children,
Saro, Deeppa, Mila, Sathesh, and the PANAP family
Abdullah M. P., Abdul Aziz Y. F., Othman M. R., Wan MohdKhalik W. M. A. 2015. Organochlorine pesticides residue level in surface water of Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. Iranica Journal of Energy and Environment 6 (2): 141-146. http://www.idosi.org/ijee/6%282%2915/10.pdf
Convention on the Rights of the Child. http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/ProfessionalInterest/crc.pdf
FAO Corporate Document Repository. 2005. Proceedings of the Asia regional workshop on the implementation, monitoring and observance of the international code of conduct on the distribution and use of pesticides. http://www.fao.org/docrep/008/af340e/af340e04.htm#TopOfPage
FAO and ILO. 2015. Protect children from pesticides. http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3527e.pdf
National Toxics Network, Inc. 2009. The threat of pesticide spray drift. http://www.ntn.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/NTN-SPRAYDRIFT-A5-Lo-res.pdf
Inquirer (Philippines). 79 downed by chemical fumes from Davao del Norte plantation: Pesticide Mocap produced by Bayer CropScience. November 30, 2006. http://www.cbgnetwork.org/1728.html
Interface Development Interventions, Inc. 2011. Liabilities of companies and public officers of the government for the non-observance and non-enforcement of buffer zones in specific banana plantation and its remedies. http://idisphil.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Legal-Research-on-the-Liability-of-Companies-and-Government-Officers-for-the-Non-Compliance-and-Non-enforcement-of-Buffer-Zones-in-Banana-Plantations.pdf
Kegley S., Katten A. and Moses M. 2003. Secondhand pesticides: Airborne pesticide drift in California. PANNA. http://www.pesticideresearch.com/site/docs/SecondhandPcides.pdf
KEMI 2015. Regional programme: Towards a non-toxic environment in South-East Asia phase II progress report. https://www.kemi.se/files/96b822bbbfe745deb349438afa289238/progress-report-2015.pdf
Lopez, A. (nd). Change.org petition: Institute a 1 mile buffer zone between schools and spraying pesticides and at least a week's notice to schools before spraying begins. https://www.change.org/p/institute-a-1-mile-buffer-zone-between-schools-and-spraying-pesicides-and-at-least-a-week-s-notice-to-schools-before-spraying-begins
NTFAAS (nd). Rain of death: A briefer on the ban aerial spraying campaign. http://idisphil.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/rain-of-death.pdf
Owens, K and Feldman, J. 2004. Getting the drift on chemical trespass: Pesticide drift hits homes, schools and other sensitive sites throughout the communities. http://www.beyondpesticides.org/assets/media/documents/infoservices/pesticidesandyou/Summer 04/Getting the Drift on Chemical Trespass.pdf
PANAP. 2016. A pesticide free buffer zone needed in Po Ampil Primary School, Takeo Province, Cambodia. http://panap.net/childrenandpesticide/?p=1552
Po Ampil Primary School, Cambodia (p.69 of the KEMI Report 2015) https://www.kemi.se/files/96b822bbbfe745deb349438afa289238/progress-report-2015.pdf
Poisoned Schoolchildren in Sri Lanka https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/23908082/poisoning-our-future-children-and-pesticides/30
US EPA 735-F-07-003. Pesticides and their impact on children: Key facts and talking points. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-12/documents/pest-impact-hsstaff.pdf
US EPA. 2015. Literature review on neurodevelopmental effects and FQPA safety factor determination for the organophosphate pesticides. http://src.bna.com/d4L
Watts, M. 2013. Poisoning our future: Children and pesticides. PANAP. http://www.panap.net/sites/default/files/Poisoning-Our-Future-Children-and-Pesticides.pdf
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) recognizes, “the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health ... taking into consideration the dangers and risks of environmental pollution”(Article 24), calls for “special measures of protection and assistance to be taken on behalf of all children and young persons without any discrimination” (Article 10), and recognizes that “every child has the inherent right to life” and that the survival and development of the child should be ensured to the “maximum extent possible” (Article 6).
Pesticides negatively impact the life, health and intelligence of children and thus violate the above rights. Pesticides can cause irreversible health impacts even in small and minute amounts that may physically, mentally, psychologically, socially and emotionally stunt children’s development and prevent their full enjoyment of health and to reach their full potential. As the 2015 US EPA study showed, there is a documented statistically significant associations between total organophosphate pesticide exposure and neurodevelopmental outcomes such as ADHD/behavioural problems, autism and impairment of mental and psychomotor development.
The pesticides’ preventable threat results from the failure of the agrochemical corporations (e.g. Syngenta, Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, etc.) and the business sector to adhere to FAO and FPA guidelines, and the failure of government to regulate and monitor pesticide use. Pesticides drift much farther than a quarter-mile at health-harming concentrations for days and even weeks after application, especially in rural areas in India, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Philippines, Sri Lanka and many other countries in Asia. Children must be protected from pesticide drifts. We do not want a repeat of the incidents in Mendocino and Ventura Counties (California, USA), Davao del Norte (Philippines), Nuwara Eliya District (Sri Lanka), and most recently in Po Ampil Primary School in Cambodia, where children were reported poisoned by pesticides during schooling hours.
There are other poisoning cases where children are exposed to air drifts, like aerial spraying in the Philippines (where the toxic drift was found to reach 3.2 km on the average), and in undocumented areas like the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. Countries have enacted buffer zones restricting pesticide use around streams and rivers to protect natural resources and endangered species. The Philippines has one on residences but is quite inadequate with 0.05 km radius. Seven states in the US have instituted buffer zone requirements in schools, roads, and residences for agricultural pesticides application to as much as 4 km. There is now a petition for a 1 mile pesticide buffer zone in California.
With the foregoing, we the concerned organizations and individuals stand united in protecting our children and the future generations from the hazards of petrochemicals foremost of which are the “Terrible Twenty”.
We, your sovereign people, thus ask you through your executive power to declare pesticide buffer zones around schools. The buffer zone must have at least a 1 km radius considering the extent of the drift as shown by current findings.
Making this landmark decision on the occasion of the International Children’s Day would be a meaningful gift to today's children and the future generations.
Hoping that you will act on our appeal,
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