Bhubaneswar: The test report of the water sample collected from a pond in Deuchuan reserve forest under Bhatli range in Bargarh district where fishes were found dead and floating 15 days ago has confirmed presence of chlorpyrifos.
The test was conducted at Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT). Chlorpyrifos is a pesticide whose usage is banned in India. Expressing concern over the use of this pesticide, toxicologists have opined that the water of the pond is not fit for consumption.
According to assistant professor of OUAT Pharmacology and Toxicology Department Ajit Kumar Nayak, if one consumes Chlorpyrifos, it creates a poisonous reaction. If the reaction is more severe, it may lead to death. In case of mild reaction, it is likely to cause several diseases.
“It is a matter of great concern that chlorpyrifos is still being sold and used in India. The presence of the pesticide in the water sample collected from the pond has given credence to it. The said pesticide has already been banned in US since 2001 and in India since May 2020,” Nayak added.
Since the pond is inside the reserve forest, it is suspected that poachers have a role in it. As of now, the people of nearby villages are worried about their domestic animals.
Since the toxicologists have sounded alarm that the water of the pond has become poisonous and not fit for consumption, the forest department has swiftly taken steps to prevent wild or domestic animals from coming to the pond.
Bargarh DFO P Sandeep said, “We had sent samples of dead fish and water to OUAT. As the test has confirmed presence of chlorpyrifos, we have already taken steps to avoid animal deaths. We have deployed our personnel at the pond round the clock. They are doing the duty on a rotation basis. Meanwhile, we have launched a probe to find out who is responsible for this act. Once identified, stringent action will be taken against him.”
Notably, the Central government had banned use, import and manufacture of 27 highly poisonous pesticides in the country through a gazette notification May 14, 2020. Chlorpyrifos is in the seventh position in the list of these 27 banned pesticides.
The presence of chlorpyrifos in water suggests that the banned pesticide is being sold in markets.
Animal lovers and experts have raised concern about the use of the deadly pesticide. According to them, the banned pesticide is already in use. The samples’ test reports are a testimony to it.
According to wildlife expert Subhendu Mallick, the pesticide is being used extensively in Odisha. Even in Bhubaneswar, this pesticide is found being sold in different names. The agriculture department officials with the help of police should conduct regular raids at shops that deal with pesticides and manure, he suggested.
“The shop owners and farmers should be made aware of harmful impacts of this pesticide. At the same time, the companies that are still manufacturing these banned pesticides should also be booked,” Mallick added.