Pesticide safety is essential
JAMAICA, THROUGH the Pesticides Control Authority (PCA) and the Ministry of Health, joins the rest of CARICOM in observing Pesticides Awareness Week from September 25-30. The theme chosen for this year by the Coordinating Group of Pesticide Control Boards of the Caribbean (CGPC), of which the PCA is a member, is ‘Manage Pesticides Responsibly: Adapt to Climate Change’.
This theme is a reminder to both professional users of pesticides and the general public about two current issues related to pesticides: Pesticides can pose a significant risk to health and the environment; therefore their use must be managed responsibly to reduce such risks. This includes the principle that pesticide use should be considered a last resort, and used in an integrated pest
Imanagement programme. For example, mosquito control must focus primarily on individual responsibility to eliminate breeding sites and prevent being bitten, rather than reliance on the Government to fog communities with insecticides. Climate change resulting in higher temperatures, is predicted to increase pest populations by shortening their breeding cycle. At the same time, it is anticipated that there will be reduced effectiveness of pesticides that previously worked well, mainly because the higher temperatures will break down pesticides faster, and also speeding up pesticide resistance in pest populations. This combination of more pests and less effective pesticides may create the temptation to misuse pesticides – both by professional users (for example, farmers spraying crops) and by the general public. This misuse (not managing pesticides responsibly) may include using pesticides at higher rates or more frequently than recommended. Persons may make bad choices in choosing the more toxic pesticides or even using a particular pesticide not approved for that pest.
In closing, managing pesticides responsibly must include thoroughly reading the pesticide label and following the instructions – pesticide safety is essential. MICHAEL RAMSAY Registrar Pesticides Control Authority