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No end to their Endosulfan woes II
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Effortsto protectaffectedvillagersinKasaragod
arewantinginmanyrespects e
d
Roy Mathew months. The incidence of d
congenital abnormalities, S I

KASARAGOD:People exposed to neurological disorders, abor-
pesticide Endosulfan in Kas- tions, epilepsy and other dis-
aragod district continue to eases is now comparable to
suffer. Despite government the rest of the population in
promises, official efforts to the State. However, M. Mo-
treat and rehabilitate the vic- hammed, who serves at the
tims and protect them from public health centre at Kada-
exposure to contaminated rudukka, said surveys had sho
soil and Water are wanting. wn that the incidence of bone
While the incidence of chil- deformities, infertility. men-
dren born with neurobeha- tal retardation and congenital
vioural disorders, congenital heart diseases in the pan.
malformation and other ab- chayat is 10 times more than
normalities has come down in those among the other pop-
most of the 11worst-affected ulations. Babies are born even
panchayats, it continues to now with cleft palates and
occur in other panchayats. other congenital
While about 500 deaths since abnormalities.
1995 have been officially ac- Water sources hit
knowledged as related to the
spraying of Endosulfan, un- The local people say the go-
official estimates put the total vetnment machinery has
number of deaths since the been lax in addressing the
late Seventies at around problem \i:Vel'since it was re-
4,000. People are still dying THE LIVING DEAD: They are oblivious of the light ported in the Nineties. The
from the after-effects of the government has failed to de-
and shade. Jeevan Raj and Devi Kiran of contaminate the water SOUl'C-
pesticide, while more than
1,000 live in misery. More Kasaragod district with their mother. es or arrange alternative
than 9,000 people have - PHOTO: ROY MATHEW water supply -
either
health problems caused by ings. The half-life of Endosul- dally in sediments where through large schemes or
. , the pesticide used by the fan varies from 60 days to 800 they accumulate. rainwater harvesting. The
State-owned Plantation Cor- days. At its Kasaragod estate With the reduction of the sources of several existing
poration of Kerala (PCK) in alone, the PCK sprayed 31,510 poison in the environment, water supply schemes are
its cashew plantations. The litres of Endosulfan between insects, butterflies and other contaminated. Even water
PCK has cashew plantations 1990 and 2000. Only a small species that had almost dis- supplied through tankers in
at Kasaragod, Rajapuram, fraction of this would remain appeared from the affected summer is not tested for the
Cheemeni and Mannarkkad. in the environment now. panchayats have returned. presence of pesticides.
However, its degrade prod- Y.S. Mohana Kumar, who The attempts of the go-
Aerial spraying ucts such as Endosulfan sul- runs medical clinics at Yath- vernment to provide medical
The corporation began ae- fate and Endosulfan diol are rika and two 'nearby localities care and ensure rehabilita-
, I rial sprayingof the pesticide also toxic. The combined and was the first doctor to tion of the affected people are
in its plantations spread half-life of Endosulfan and its draw public attention to the often delayed and have failed
across 15 panchayats in the toxic residues is estimated to rising number of congenital to achieve much. On the other
district in 1978and continued range from nine mOl}thsto six abnormalities in the Nip,eties, hand, voluntary groups and
, till 2001. The pesticide, which years, according to the Envi- told The Hindu that cases of organisations like the Soli-
I is not easilydegradable,con- ronmental Protection Agency children born with abnormal- darity Youth Movement have
I taminated the soil and water of the U.S. This means that ities have come down in his been able to extend better
, and found its way into the toxic materials could still be locality. There is no birth rec-

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support to the victims.
1>!i~m!!"M~"non,",,"
food chain, affecting lower present in the environment orded of children with dis-

... . ...
and higher forms oflife in the of the affected villages in abilities in the Perla and
area, including human be- measurable quantities, espe- Padre areas for the past three
..
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