Skip to main content


Taking a major stride towards understanding effects of pesticides on endangered species, the first rigorous nationwide study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that about 97 per cent of over 1,800 animals and plants protected under the Endangered Species Act are threatened by two commonly used pesticides: malathion and chlorpyrifos.

The results of the study, which were released on January 18, claimed that another 78 per cent are likely to be harmed by pesticide diazinon. “When it comes to pesticides, it’s always best to look before you leap, to understand the risks to people and wildlife before they’re put into use,” said Nathan Donley, senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Based on the final biological evaluations, Donley called for “some commonsense measures to help protect them along with our water supplies and public health”.

The pesticides mentioned above are all organophosphates—a dangerous class of insecticides found in 87 per cent of human umbilical-cord samples. They are widely used on crops like watermelon, wheat and corn. While chlorpyrifos is currently under consideration to be banned for use on food crops in the US, the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2016 announced that malathion and diazinon are probable carcinogens.

“The EPA is providing a reasonable assessment of those risks, many of which can be avoided by reducing our reliance on the most toxic, dangerous old pesticides in areas with sensitive wildlife,” added Donley.

Based on these evaluations from the EPA, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service will issue recommendations to identify mitigation measures and changes to pesticide use so that these pesticides can no longer harm any endangered species in the US when used on agricultural crops. In India, the state of Kerala witnessed one of the worst and longest-running pesticide poisoning episodes in history.


Popular posts from this blog

SC asks Centre to strike a balance on Rohingya issue (.hindu)

Supreme Court orally indicates that the government should not deport Rohingya “now” as the Centre prevails over it to not record any such views in its formal order, citing “international ramifications”.

The Supreme Court on Friday came close to ordering the government not to deport the Rohingya.

It finally settled on merely observing that a balance should be struck between humanitarian concern for the community and the country's national security and economic interests.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions, one filed by persons within the Rohingya community, against a proposed move to deport over 40,000 Rohingya refugees. A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, began by orally indicating that the government should not deport Rohingya “now”, but the government prevailed on the court to not pass any formal order, citing “international ramifications”. With this, the status quo continues even though the court gave the community liberty to approach it in …

Khar’s experimentation with Himalayan nettle brings recognition (downtoearth)

Nature never fails to surprise us. In many parts of the world, natural resources are the only source of livelihood opportunities available to people. They can be in the form of wild shrubs like Daphne papyracea and Daphne bholua (paper plant) that are used to make paper or Gossypium spp (cotton) that forms the backbone of the textile industry.

Nothing can compete with the dynamism of biological resources. Recently, Girardinia diversifolia (Himalayan nettle), a fibre-yielding plant, has become an important livelihood option for people living in the remote mountainous villages of the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

There is a community in Khar, a hamlet in Darchula district in far-western Nepal, which produces fabrics from Himalayan nettle. The fabric and the things made from it are sold in local as well as national and international markets as high-end products.

A Himalayan nettle value chain development initiative implemented by the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiati…

The Chipko movement as it stands today

The idea behind the Chipko movement originated in early 1970s from Mandal, a village in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Forty-three years later, Down To Earth travelled to Chamoli and Tehri Garhwal and spoke to the participants of this movement about its relevance today