Congrats on bringing awareness to pesticide issues
THE MANAGEMENT of pests forms an important part in the improvement of health care globally. I would like to congratulate the Pesticides Control Authority on another year of bringing awareness to the critical issues surrounding pesticides.
The Ministry of Health remains committed to maintaining the highest standards and regulatory practices that are in line with international best practices. The area of pesticides is no different as we aim, through efficient, facilitative and cordial interaction with the public and in collaboration with other agencies, to reduce the adverse effects of pesticides on food, the environment and public health by improving pesticide management in Jamaica.
Pesticides Awareness Week is being observed under the theme ‘Manage Pesticides Responsibility: Adapt to Climate Change’. The theme is timely as the region seeks to address the issue that climate change is expected to increase pest populations, including disease vectors such as mosquitoes and agriculture pests. In the past two years alone, we have been challenged as a country with the impact on health and development from two emerging vector-borne diseases, Chikungunya and Zika. Both diseases are transmitted by the vector, the
mosquito. Our management of controlling these vectors must not lead to pesticide misuse when responding to the problem. The ministry’s consistent call for individual responsibility in the management of garbage disposal in and around homes, schools, churches and workplaces is one initiative that seeks to reduce pesticide use against these vectors.
The common response to more pests, including mosquitoes, is more pesticides, which can increase the risk of pesticide poisoning of users and even other persons, including children, who come into contact with the pesticide after application. Other potentially dangerous outcomes are the pesticide use in agriculture which can increase the risk of pesticide residue in food, as well as potential damage to the environment. Pesticides Awareness Week will focus on these and several other issues in a bid to better sensitise the public and improve the overall management of pesticides.
I anticipate that this will be a very productive week and I wish you all the best with your week-long activities. DR CHRISTOPHER TUFTON Minister of Health