21 August, 2018

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The Glyphosate Challenge

By Ranil Senanayake –

Dr Ranil Senanayake

As a professional who had been boycotted by successive governments for 35 years, it was a surprise to find myself on a “Government Committee” addressing the issue of Glyphosate. It was also salutary to see the level of professionalism and sense of National responsibility. It was also a great lesson on the ways and means to achieve political goals, never mind the civic responsibility. As I had opposed the lifting of the current ban on the on Ecological and Public Health ground at at the sittings of the Parliamentary committees and presented my arguments I assumed that my job was done and the politicians could decide the outcome. That was over I thought. The Glyphosate debate continued to rage, presenting both sides of the argument to the public. This was good because many of us are more informed as a consequence. I, like the rest of the country awaited an informed decision by the government.  Them much to my surprise I am summoned to a meeting at the Presidential Secretariat to consider a ‘Compromised Approach’ to the Glyphosate question.

The meeting was to re-examine the proposal by the Ministry of Plantation Industries to revoke the ban on the use of Glyphosate for the tea and rubber plantation sector. The arguments for and against lined up to demonstrate that for every concern on the use of Glyphosate, there was a pro and con argument. When it was suggested that the ‘Precautionary Principle’ is important in Public Health matters and that there was ‘leakage’ that has entered the bodies of people, the committee was given the assurance that the plantation industries will assure no leakage into the black market or into the waterways. The last, is a very important and critical aspect of protecting public health.  Thus the following consideration was accepted if the plantation industry was using it.

“Revoke the ban imposed on Glyphosate ONLY for Tea and Rubber Sectors for a period of 36 months, effective from the date that the TRI and RRI design and develop an effective mechanism to ensure strict control of its use and the follow up monitoring mechanism in consultation with Registrar of Pesticides (ROP) and other relevant regulatory bodies (CEA, NSWDB, Health Department, etc.)  to prevent the misuse and overuse of Glyphosate, especially the illegal transfer of issued Glyphosate to other crop sectors and environmental leakage to the water bodies;”

This means that the TRI and RRI will monitor to test if there is any leakage of Glyphosate into water bodies once the industry uses it. The million Rupee question is Who is responsible if a leak of Glyphosate has been detected outside the area of application? The importing country? the plantation industry?  TRI and RRI? Also what will be the level of the fine at detection? Further if leakage is detected will ban be re-imposed? All this must become a part of any license given to use Glyphosate. To lift the bar without clarifying these questions, will be very partial indeed. As it is the President’s office coordinating this initiative, there is confidence that the well-being of the public is tantamount and that there must be accountability by commercial operators who could impact public well-being.

Maybe I will need to wait another 35 years to get on a ‘Government Committee’ because of this letter!

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  • 0
    4

    Ranil,
    appreciate you expressing your thoughts, coming from deep down. Yes, like you, there are many professionals who are subject matter experts (SMEs) in different fields who have been grossly ignored in the governmental policy/strategy making process.

    The irony being that instead of seeking the combined knowledge of many such experts, the government brings out a cabinet paper presented by a cabinet minister who mostly has not even got through his/her A/Ls, and that becomes government policy.

    One can cite sooo many examples of this scenario taking place over, and over and over again, in successive governments nevertheless.

    The current co-habitation government is the worst when it comes to making up-side-down decisions that are shockers to anyone with a rational mind. The Glyphosate ban was one of those irrational decisions due to several factors:

    1. No alternate solution was provided
    2. There was no concrete evidence of the harmful effects of Glyphosate
    3. Even with the Ban in effect, no actions were taken to ensure that Glyphosate was banned outright. I say this since Glyphosate has been available in the black market ever since the ban.

    Prohibitions with such permeable execution strategies is bound to fail, and that is what has happened with Glyphosate, and also with many other regulatory controls brought-in by this government.

    Any ruling body is of no avail, if they cannot execute what they impose.

    “Good governance with good intentions is the hallmark of our government. Implementation with integrity is our core passion.”
    –> Narendra Modi

    • 3
      1

      Dr. Ranil Senanayake,
      “The million Rupee question is Who is responsible if a leak of Glyphosate has been detected outside the area of application? “
      As a recognized expert in your area of knowledge, would you tell us whether Glyphosate has been found in any patient’s body?
      If so, when and where?

  • 7
    3

    Who decided on the ban of glyphosate? It was Athuraliye Ratana priest who forced the President to proclaim this ban. What scientific knowledge does he have to do this? No professional scientific body such as the SLAAS or the National Academy were consulted. Glyphosate causing kidney disease (CKDu) is all humbug perpetrated by a group of people from the Rajarata university one of them contested on the UPFA ticket sometime back. So, it is all poilitcal ably assisted by Rev. Rathana. CKDu was there long before came into use and there is no evidence that it causes kidney disease. It is only suspected of causing cancer and most countries have not banned this. In fact 190 countries out of 195 still have this in use. Lifting the ban should be to all of Sri Lanka and not only the plantation sector..

    • 7
      3

      This is all to do with the glyphosate producing multinational Monsanto financing (through the US embassy and Atul Keshap) Navin Dissanayake’s bid to become future leader of our country. He is trying to cash in, shove Sajith Premadasa, while Ranil W is in trouble. Now the Yankees owe the ‘thick’ Navin Dissanayake one! Rajitha Senaratne’s own plans are gone under for the moment because of Sirisena’s orders under desperation to overturn the ban. These rogues couldn’t care less about who they are killing and the environmental destruction they are causing, because they are only driven by greed for power. There are other so-called ‘scientists’ who push their own barrels for the Monsanto dollar. Heaven help us Sri Lankans.

  • 3
    1

    Glyphosate is being used in Sri lanka for voer 35 years. SO, it is no point of looking for who leaked it to the environment. when you use a chemical that long, if the chemical cannot be broken by the plants or animals (That is why some plants dies. IT may affect aqautic animals such as fish and others who live in the water ways). Sri lankan water way living aquatic plants and animals are important for the ecosystem. both in the USA and in Europe, it ihave been proven that Qlyphosate has toxicity because of the minute amounts of impurities left in the chemical, co-formulanra and finally it can be over the time leaked into the ecosystem and can harm the important organisms that are important and finally it had proven these are happening. Besides, all there is a MONsanto Task force which pushes Glyphosate as a non-toxic chemicals. They have developed and are using genetically modified crop species in Canada, and even in India. Europe doe snot ban glyphosate because if affect and many other businesses which are involved selling seeds and GMO crop species. Because of that Europe has allowed it only for five years. USA has court cases. So, instead of using chemicals Sri lanka should use what is called sustainable weed control technology. that is 100% weed control is not required eventhough companies promote the need is around 70 – 80% in order to get maximum yields. Besides Tea, coconut and rubber are definitely not needed Glyphosate. for tea, they can use mechnials Weed whacker like system and just control thr weed growth. For coconut and rubber we never used weed control and the tree itself controls the weedgrowth around the tree. Glyphoste patent is also expired long ago and now RUSSIA is the major manufacturer that is also a reason to fight for the market share.

  • 4
    2

    There is another Writer who is living Canada right now write thr same kind of Articles. I am prety sure, they get money pesticide selling companies. they givt money, and gifts. Tea, coconut and rubber do not glyphosted used weed contol. IT is not just wating money. givt a price to the eco system destruction. The harm is very high.

  • 0
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  • 1
    1

    Thank you Dr. Ranil.

    We have many public universities with departments of agriculture, medicine, economics and business. Many aspects of the issues related to Glyphosate have been studied both in Sri Lanka and outside Sri Lanka. Chemicals used in excess of levels considered to be the limit will have harmful effects on human health and on the ecology.

    All this is known. One question that we might get answers to is whether Sri Lanka agriculture tended to over use – abuse, Glyphosate and that policymakers were and are unable to device the policies to control this aspect?

    Unless any use of Glyphosate at any level is harmful to humans and to the ecology to an intolerable level, we might do well to consider its use and address potential outcomes if it is not used at all. What will commercial agriculture and small scale farmers use instead? What are the alternatives? Is this a case like infant formula milk driven by giant corporations? Will food and agriculture products be more expensive if Glyphosate is banned, will it drive the price of Glyphosate as well as alternatives?

    With the experience we have had, surely we have information on this?

    Should we not gather and use that information that would be relevant to good decision making?

    • 2
      1

      Shokku MASTA: I THINK one GLyphosate liter is may let us say Rs 600 and adds cost to the production. Instead, use mechanical weed control methods under the rubber tree if needed, and around Tea.

  • 5
    1

    Now that Chandre has won his case Monsanto will reward him lavishly…….it is time that Dr. Jayasumana makes a public awareness campaign through social media to boycott drinking tea (undoubtedly will be contaminated with CKD causing Glyphosate) and that will be the only way to teach a lesson to Navin Dissanayake and rest of the goons of Monsanto.

    • 0
      1

      Dr. Jayasumena is a politician who will use any issue to his advantage. He earlier said bioterrorism is the factor, then shifted to arsenic (courtesy of God Natha) and finally to glyphosate. He has proclaimed glyphosate to cause CKDu without any scientific evidence. Anyone can find a paper in the literature about toxicity of glyphosate. Even toxicity of paracetamol is well known. So Dr. Jayasumena,s rhetoric has no place since no other scientist has supported his views. GMOA also has blindly endorsed what Dr. Jayasumena’s stand. Senior scientists have openly talked about their stand that glphosate is not responsible. Unfortunately they do not have the political clout for them to be heard.

  • 1
    1

    It is clear that the glyphosate ban is political than anything else. In California where the environmental regulation that is toughest in the world when it comes potable water glyphosate is not banned as in Srilanka. So what happened to kidney problems associate with glyphosate? Most recently salmonella contaminate lettuce cause kidney failure in those who consumed lettuce in the US. Compared to water we drink most srilanka water is like cesspit water, so bad. Other thing I observed in a recently published photo in srilanka was the Dude that was spraying the field was wearing short sleeve shirt, shorts, no gloves or anything over his mouth or face. Protection is important. All those pandithayas keep blowing hot air. One more thing, how many times a year do you guys sample water for contaminants. We do it monthly and provide results to the Citizens. So get your act together before you bad mouth anything.

  • 1
    0

    Ranil Senanayake is far far ahead. Human actuated chemical pollution is as serious as climate change.
    We are lulled into thinking that glyphosate is harmless. Is it? Several countries have banned its use (via home use Roundup). There was the news the other day that Ceylon tea is glyphosate contaminated.
    There is more to it than meets the eye. Remember the cigarette industry suppressed finding linking smoking as a health hazard.
    Thanks Ranil for leading us away from the political arena.

    • 0
      1

      KP,
      ” There was the news the other day that Ceylon tea is glyphosate contaminated.”

      It is GLUCOSE, not Glyphosate. There is a difference, you know.
      Have any farmers got CANCER from Glyphosate?

  • 0
    0

    Have studies been conducted on glyphosate contamination of the fauna foodchain? Animals and fish are vital for a healthy eco-system. If the allegation that glyphosate has harmful affects on man, then one can only guess what happens to insects and the progressively evolving foodchain that larger animals depend on. All those with pecuniary interests should be left out of the vital discussion on glyphosate and its affects on man and the environment .

    • 0
      0

      “All those with pecuniary interests should be left out of the vital discussion on glyphosate and its affects on man and the environment .”

      The whole nation has a pecuniary interest. If the cost of agricultural exports goes up, who is going to buy them? Unless people are prepared to send all their wives and daughters as slaves to ME to save the farmers. Are you prepared?

  • 0
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    Glyphosate found in food tested by the FDA. The Gaurdian April 30 th and may 1st.
    Toxicity is well documented . More toxic than thought. Same newspaper .

    • 0
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      Dias,
      This is what the report also says:
      “But the internal documents obtained by the Guardian show the FDA has had trouble finding any food that does not carry traces of the pesticide.”
      If Glyphosate is as deadly as claimed, then the whole US population should be suffering from cancer or kidney disease. BUT THEY ARE NOT. Doesn’t that tell you something??

  • 0
    0

    Meenachchi is increasingly sounding like the tobacco industry executives who swore that smoking did not give you cancer. Where s/he stands with regard to Glysphosate kickbacks must be a well concealed secret.

    • 0
      0

      Dionysius,
      Trying to shoot the messenger? The fact is that you guys have no arguments of your own, just hearsay. Making a lot of noise is not an argument. Selectively quoting reports (as above) is dishonest. Show the evidence!

  • 0
    0

    GLYPHOSATE TOXICITY
    There is a severe glyphosate side effect that you should be aware of. In fact, a 2008 International Journal of Cancer study noted that Roundup is the leading herbicide associated with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), with data demonstrating a doubled risk of developing NHL through regular Roundup exposure. There are several other types of cancers slowly being connected to Roundup exposure, including B-cell lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, lymphocytic lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma, Burkitt lymphoma, lymphoma of the primary central nervous system, and multiple myeloma.
    For the full 2017 article go to: https://www.periscopegroup.com/roundup/glyphosate-side-effects-toxicity

    • 0
      0

      Dionysius,
      This study refers to Lymphoma/ Leukamia, etc. which are NOT the problem in NCP. In any case, how many people contract lymphomas ? 0.5 out of 100?. More people die in traffic accidents.
      All the talk about Monsanto is irrelevant here, since Russia is now the biggest producer.
      There is NO proof that Glyphosate causes CKD.

  • 0
    0

    Glyphosate linked to epidemic of kidney failure

    Following a brief extract:

    “The Swiss-based International Journals of Environmental Research and Public Health published a research paper pointing that glyphosate may be behind an epidemic of mystery kidney disease killing over 20,000 in Sri Lanka alone.
    For more than two years, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists have been monitoring a previously rare form of Kidney disease now devastating agricultural workers in Central America, Sri Lanka and India.
    Glyphosate bonds with toxic heavy metals in the environment such as cadmium and arsenic, forming stable compounds that are consumed in food and water and do not break down until reaching victims’ kidneys.”
    Read full article at: http://panswiss.org/newsroom/glyphosate-linked-to-epidemic-of-kidney-failure-but-regulation-obstructed/

    • 0
      0

      Dionysius,
      “On March 12, a Sri Lankan minister announced that President Rajapaksa, after receiving a scientific report that “revealed that kidney disease was mainly caused by glyphosate,” was banning the herbicide. The decision followed publication of a scientific paper that attributed widespread kidney failure to the herbicide.”

      Above is a quote from the article. These quacks can’t even get the President’s name right. Also they claim that Glyphosate was used by the LTTE for making bombs! Clearly these geniuses don’t know the difference between Urea and Glyphosate,
      Do I need to say more, Mr. Dionysius?

  • 0
    0

    All this stuff put out by Dionysius have already been debunked and are now outdated.

    Glyphosate formulations must be tested under farm conditions, with all the adjuvants and additives, and at the level of dilution used by farmers. That is, tests with more dilute, or more concentrated forms are not useful. Also, the test must be carried out for long enough to see if there
    are long-term effects.

    Dionysus has evidently not heard of the massive medical study of 90,000 farmers in Iowa and Minnesota whose health was followed for 23 years with bllod tests, urine tests and many other tests.

    The results were published on 7th Nov. 2017. They showed NO CORRELATION with glyphosate use and ANY TYPE OF CANCER., or in fact, any type of non-communicable illness.

    Since urine, blood etc., were also tested, NO increased incidence of Kidney disease was also noted.

    glyphosate is not a harsh chemical, as its LP50 (a measure of toxicity) is milder than for Lifebuoy soap solutions

    For a popular account, read:
    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/11/12/1715037/-Glyphosate-causes-cancer-large-scientific-study-says-no

  • 1
    0

    I have searched the web, Scholar google etc., to find out what research has been done by Ranil Senanayake on Kidney Disease, or on pesticides and toxicity, or any related subject.
    THERE IS NONE.
    There is no research on ANY TOPIC by Ranil Senanayaka even if you search back over 20 years!!!!!

    So, he has a right has he to speak on the subject as a citizen, but NOT as an expert.

  • 0
    0

    So Ranil has no right to speak as an expert! But Meenachchi and Guruge “from the UK”, a more superior Sri Lankan perhaps, have such rights. That is their tacit claim. But for reasons best known to them they must hide their esteemed qualifications behind pseudonyms.

    • 0
      0

      Dionysius,
      Ranil has no right to speak as an expert because he is a scaremonger dealing in wild claims. Today he says that acid from Norochcholai will kill the Sri Maha Bodhi!
      If you have ANY evidence that is not from obviously fake websites, tell us. Do not expose your bankruptcy by suggesting that anyone who does’t agree with you is being paid by Monsanto. If that is possible, where can I apply?

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