28 October, 2020

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“Whole-Some Agriculture” For A “Toxin-Free Nation” ?

By Chandre Dharmawardana

Prof. Chandre Dharmawardana

Prof. Chandre Dharmawardana

The President unveiled a three-year program put forward by the agriculture minister, promising a “toxin free nation” based on ”wholesome agriculture”. The minsters as well as Ven. Athuraliye Ratana are acting with what they believe are the best interests of the people. That “modern agriculture” is responsible for an alleged deterioration of public health is a common belief among the more affluent “concerned individuals” all over the world, and not just in Sri Lanka. This is often coupled with proposals to return to “traditional ways” of doing things, and opposing genetically modified foods “at all costs”!

What are the most important toxins consumed by the public? The very day that the “Toxin-free nation” was heralded, a newspaper reports that “Mountain-Dew” has been approved for Sri Lanka. We already have Coke, Pepsi, etc., and local carbonated drinks, all containing at least five table spoons of sugar per cup! They contain high amounts of phosphates and other additives. Sugar is a major toxin that causes innumerable illnesses like diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases, cancer, allergies etc. But no one is ready to ban sugar. It is “traditional” to consume whole-fat buffalo curd and palm “treacle” and other “traditional” Sri Lankan deserts based on treacle. In ancient times, ordinary people lived at subsistence level and ate rich food rarely. Thus corpulence and a big belly, known as a “ping bandiya” were signs of aristocratic bearing and high status!farming - paddy

Another class of ubiquitous toxins is spewed all over the country by diesel and motor engines and even by kerosene cookers. These are class-I carcinogens in the World Health Organization list, i.e., they definitely cause cancer. These toxins accumulate in the fatty layers of the body and cause chronic diseases. But we use the largest fraction of the national income to import these toxins and vehicles, instead of using electric vehicles and trains. We are even going to use coal-fired power in this “toxin-free nation” and please the Indians who sell coal!

Having spent millions for petroleum and vehicles, we create huge traffic jams on highly polluted roads. The people in these vehicles and outside breath the fuel tainted-air while in traffic jams. They become impatient and generate adrenaline, an anger hormone that shuts off insulin and pumps up the blood sugar. Even those who only drink plain tea and Kola-Kaenda (leafy-broth) eventually get their diabetes from the traffic, even without sugar! The minister’s plan to create a “Toxin-free nation” ends right inside his super-luxury Mercedes Benz!

Even the tobacco industry accepts that tobacco and even second-hand smoke are class-I carcinogens. Shouldn’t one ban tobacco outright, and destroy the tobacco plantations? Instead we put horror-show pictures on cigarette cartons and sell them with ghoulish glee to collect big taxes! Some five trillion tobacco butts saturated with toxin are tossed out the world over annually,, and Sri Lanka’s contribution per head is outstanding!

It is not only cigarette butts that are thrown out with such little thought. What happens to the flash-light batteries (“torch” batteries), used batteries as well as old cell phones, computers, toys, watches, hearing aids, fluorescent bulbs, medical gadgets and a myriad other electronic devices? What about dead computers and monitors, TV sets printers etc? They are ultimately tossed into the garbage. But they contain Cadmium, lead, gallium, indium, antimony, arsenic, mercury, transformer oils, old paint cans, and a whole host of dangerous toxins. All used up batteries, dead computers and dead electronic equipment, unused paint etc should be returned to the seller who should arrange for the technically correct disposal at the wholesale ware house. Until then, you can forget about a “Toxin free nation”.

The English invader opened taverns in every village in the late 19th century to subdue the “natives”. The natives had observed temperance or consumed weak-alcoholic drinks like toddy. But today, taverns have been replaced by ubiquitous drinking holes and night clubs. They sell not just alcohol, but narcotics and mind-altering Crystal-meth, K2, Spice, Flakka etc. The country is awash with such toxins. So an “intoxicated nation” talks of getting rid of “agro-chemicals” while drunkenly hitting at an
imagined fly when it is already in the tiger’s mouth.

It is easy to blame “agro-chemicals”, and Big Business than cut off sugar, petroleum, alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. However, do we have a case for cutting agro-chemicals? Agro-chemicals are most used in the mono-culture of the tea plantations where the soil has become acidic enough to have a pH of five! However, we are importing artificial fertilizer and exporting tea; and it makes some sense as long as it makes a clear profit, employs people, and makes no one sick. No one has found significant levels of toxins like Cadmium, Lead or Arsenic in tea, although tea uses the same fertilizers and herbicides (like glyphosate) as used for vegetables and paddy. But eventually nothing will grow in such abused soil.

Ven. Ratana’s campaign was triggered by the rise of chronic kidney disease of unknown origin (CKDU) in the Rajarata. The irresponsible “Naatha-Deiyyo myth”, put out by a so-called “Dean” of science who claims that science is in fact an unmitigated fraud, claimed that the Rajarata is poisoned by Arsenic from “imported fertilizers”. CKDU was identified around 1992 and the number of patients has steadily increased. Doctors and scientists have not been able to unequivocally link CKDU to known medical causes, or agro-chemicals, petrochemicals, geological or other contaminants. However, they have proved that there is no toxic arsenic in the Rajarata water, soil or food. It has also been tentatively identified that residents who consume house-hold well water (rather than flowing water in canals, rivers or water from reservoirs) contract the disease, and programs to provide clean water have been launched.

Chemical analyses of the soil, water and food have NOT revealed any relevant toxins from agrochemicals. An outcry against the herbicide glyphosate has been created, but the presence of green algae in tanks, rivers and even in shallow wells shows that even traces of the herbicide glyphosate are absent. Yet the herbicide has been banned by the Sirisena government, the only government in the world that has heeded such hysteria (first launched in California!).

The claim that “imported fertilizers” contain dangerous toxins like arsenic, cadmium, etc., has been rejected by the import controllers. The locally produced Eppawala phosphate has more arsenic ( 23-27 parts/million of arsenic) than the maximum allowed limits (MAL). If the final concentration of, say arsenic, in the soil AFTER the fertilizer is spread is less than the MAL, then the so-called “contaminated” fertilizer can be safely used. The public does not often realize that the environment naturally contains a certain amount of toxins and that is one reason why we have MALs.

Organic fertilizers made by repeated composting of leaves can have dangerous amounts of metal toxins like Cd and As as plants bio-accumulate them. The ancients solved this by “chena cultivation” where the plantation is moved from place to place and used large amounts of water for weed control. Such practices are no longer possible in a densely populated country.

The Dadabbha Jathaka tells of a hare hit by a falling fruit. The hare cries that the earth at its end, the sky is falling, and starts a stampede of animals. But a lion halts them, and investigates the cause of the panic. The Jathaka story teaches the need for rational investigation. The “Toxin-free Nation” policy directed at agro-chemicals under the “anusaashana” of Venerable Ratana is an effort that misses the major toxins affecting the public. It is not the traces of agro-chemicals that even chemists find hard to detect, but the tankers of petrochemicals burned in the country, the kilos of sugar burnt in the body, the alcohol, drugs tobacco and meat that are freely consumed that poison us.

*The author was instrumental in launching the first food chemistry programs in Sri Lanka,, four decades ago, at Vidyodaya University. Today it is known as the Sri Jayawardenapura University, and boasts of a full-fledged department of food science and food technology.

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  • 2
    2

    An outcry against the herbicide glyphosate has been created, but the presence of green algae in tanks, rivers and even in shallow wells shows that even traces of the herbicide glyphosate are absent.

    I have seen how Glyphosate sold under brand name “Roundup” actually work.

    When its sprayed on a hedge for example when dry – its completely dead the next day. Its as if a lightening struck the tree consuming it on fire. Its a very potent weed killer.

    The kidney problem seems to exist in developing countries that use Glyphosate only. In developed nations with disciplined farming practices they maintain the recommended dosage and safety gear. In those counties the kidney problem is not prevalent.

    The stuff does not have to spread in water. It could be entering the blood stream via air. After spraying the weed killer the farmer probably breadths it in. He may take the excess Glyphosate back home in his clothes too.

    • 3
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      Prof. Chandre Dharmawardana

      RE: “Whole-Some Agriculture” For A “Toxin-Free Nation” ?

      “The President unveiled a three-year program put forward by the agriculture minister, promising a “toxin free nation” based on ”wholesome agriculture””

      “That “modern agriculture” is responsible for an alleged deterioration of public health is a common belief among the more affluent “concerned individuals” all over the world, and not just in Sri Lanka. This is often coupled with proposals to return to “traditional ways” of doing things, and opposing genetically modified foods “at all costs”!”

      This is the hypothesis behind the “Organic” food craze. There is a lot of support for this. However, this modern agriculture also lead to increase yields.

      1. Can the the President unveil a three-year program and ask the Bribery Commissioner, promising a “Bribery free nation” based on ”wholesome Governance”?

      2. Can the the President unveil a three-year program and ask the Police Commissioner, promising a “Crime free nation” based on ”Good Constitutional Governance” as well?

      • 0
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        Professor Chandre Dharmawardana

        Do you really need any endorsement or criticism of your views by a delusional misanthrope. Did you see any relevance in the context of your Article of this misanthrope’s suggestions for three year programs for a bribery free nation, and a crime free nation?

    • 1
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      A Glyphosate (roundup) intake of up to 40 mg per day has been stated as the safe dose in the European Union, where there is also a lot of pressure by “organic food zealots” who want to go back to the buggy and horse days.
      You just can’t feed the current population by methods that failed even at that time.

      Now that glyphosate is banned, farmers are resorting to far more dangerous substances like using mixtures of kerosene and monosodium glutamate!
      But the main message of this article is that the major toxins are Petroleum Vapour, Sugar, Alcohol, Tobacco etc., and NOT these so called agricultural toxins which are miniscule in comparison.
      This government will succeed in destroying agriculture in Sri lanka due to its false ideology pushed forward by Ven. ratana and other zealots, just as the Soviet Union destroyed its agriculture due to applying “marxism” instead of agricultural science that was claimed to be contrary to marxism.

  • 2
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    In the US and Canada, Glyphossate’s labelling and safety is under review

    • 1
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      Canada has reviewed glyphosate and concluded that it is the safest available herbicde.
      You can buy Glyphosate products in any gardening shop and people use it in their home
      gardens, golf clubs, school yards, farms etc.
      Here is a recent TV-Ontario discussion.
      http://tvo.org/video/programs/the-agenda-with-steve-paikin/the-last-roundup-debate

      • 0
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        @Bodin

        Both the CIFA and FDA are now testing food for glyphosate and Roundup is being relabelled

        If it were safe, there would be no reason to do so, yes ?

        http://www.producer.com/2016/03/cfia-tests-for-glyphosate-in-food/
        http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/04/14/health-canada-looks-to-re-label-weed-killer-roundup.html
        http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/04/28/relabel-roundup-glyphosate.aspx

        Use of roundup and other similar has unintended consequences also. Nature doesnt stand still.

        I would say the WHO is probably more objective than CFIA. And again, personally I prefer not to consume glyphosate AT ALL.

        • 0
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          Hi malumiris
          Just listen to what one of the scientists who was signatories to the WHO classification of Glyphosate as a possible carcinogen (i.e., category II) had to say about it in a TV-Ontario discussion on the subject. He says that the classification has no implications for the use of glyphosate in agriculture
          or standard usage. Its use has not changed in Canada. Everyshop sells it.
          Listen to:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pE_vjC0z-z4

          • 0
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            @Bodin

            Agreed. The classification has no implication on the usage. In this case they are mutually exclusive.

            DDT and Asbestos, while not herbicides, are similar. In wide use until long-term, they figured out it had negative effects. The manufacturers don’t have to deal with the fallout – let the healthcare system deal with it !

            Still, I believe that in North America, the discovery of asbestos in a living or working space triggers an immediate response by the authorities ?? People selling houses have to certify it is asbestos-free ??

            Surprising for a proven carcinogen, and another example of application versus classification

            Anyways,

            The large scale usage of Glyphosate in Canada (I am not talking lawns and golf courses here) appears to also require the use of Glyphosate Tolerant Crops – which are also… surprise !!! manufactured and patented by Monsanto !!!

            Now that’s a brilliant strategy !

            Personally I find the variety of applications that Glyphosate is used for, quite alarming and the Class 2A “probably carcinogenic in humans” is an adequate classification not to use it or consume it.

            Now, if TVO said “most definitely is NOT carcinogenic”, then I would have no objections of course but none of the verbiage actually comes out with a definitive declaration either at TVO or Health authorities.

            It’s just a personal choice I make for myself.

  • 2
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    Even inthe west, even in North america, they stopped producing even some glassware used to cook because the glass had mixed heavy metals.

    for agriculture, they have integrated pest management and pests are controlled mostly with natural weather and biological agent and not with artificial chemicals.

    In Sri lanka, Politicians and businesses together are like criminal Mafia. they should be prosecuted as traitors to the country. What ever criminal activity happens, politicians are safe. There is no deterrent to that.

    COKe, RED BULL like drinks make people Obese because of high sugar content, prone to diabetis, Phosphoric acids in it, I heard, reduce the body natural immunity.

    Very good article. Ultimate result will be sick children, sick adults and high rate of cancer.

  • 1
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    I think the problem with Glyphosate is the synthetic route involves mixing with heavy metals. those heavy metals are abosroed into the plants and people consume those.

    Diesal fumes, Petrol fumes are proven carcinogens.

    Even animal hemoglobins in animal blood are carcinogens as Iron in Blood hemoglobin act as an oxidizing agent. If you check the intenet there are hundreds of articles how red meat contributes to cancer, heart diseases etc., UN talked about processed meats which has Nitroso amines because that is a direct carcinogenic agent.

  • 1
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    Prof. Chandre Dharmawardana,

    Just because the world is forced into all kinds of trade deals to keep the US and the West afloat, that doesn’t mean we should also compromise our ancient Lankan grains, fruits and vegetables, to add to the global food pollution hazard.

    Indeed, it is imperative that we preserve our traditional way of food and life at an even greater pace, so as to remain honorable to our natural health, vigor and psychological concerns.

    In the midst of grave travesty and rape of genomic factors, it is imperative that we hold onto that, which succored us through the ages.

    • 0
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      The traditional way of food and agriculture failed even during the hay day of the Anuradhapura civilization. The Pali chronicles report a series of famines, and the Buddhist scriptures were written down at the Aluvihara because even the monks (who were always fed by the pious) feared that there may not be any food even for them, and that the Sangha order itself will all become extinct.

      The Mahawamsa reports mostly the lives of the upper classes and the monks, but there are some accounts of normal people as well where the facts come out. Then there are the other texts, which clearly show that the Wedavasam (feudal) system where people worked the land of the rich land owners (Aristocrats) and led an extremely impoverished existence. In more recent times, the life of the traditional village, and the villager, is well described in Leonard Wolf’s “Baeddegama” (Village in the Jungle).

      I had spend a good part of my time as a land officer in Sri lanka and know about paddy. The traditional varieties of seeds produce only 1/3 to 1/2 the amount of harvest, need more water, and more time to grow, unlike the modern hybrid 3-month (or even shorter) varieties. Further more, the stalks of traditional varieties are tall, and NOT strong and fall down loosing the seeds. They are also insensitive to adding ANY type of fertilizer, i.e., the harvest doesn’t increase much even with added fertilizer. If no herbicides are used the manual labour becomes very demanding. So, paddy grown by such “traditional methods” becomes expensive and only purchased by the Rich Upper classes who think they this is better than the ordinary rice – it is fashionable to eat the stuff!. But they are wrong, because if compost has been added to the fertilizer, it will definitely contain metal toxins due to bio-accumulation, as this writer has said, and I know about it from studies published in India (that this writer should have mentioned if he had researched that topic. But he has omitted to say so). Furthermore, because traditional varieties stay in the water longer due to the longer growth period, they have more time accumulate toxins.


      So, if possible, if you wish to safeguard your health, avoid traditionally grown rice and save your money as well.

      In any case, there is not enough labour, not enough land, not enough water, and not enough “Geri Katu (bone meal)” and “compost” to produce even 1/3 of what we need by traditional means.

      If you go back to traditional farming methods, there will be a vast famine, and all the gains we have had since the 1930-1960s (when hybrid varieties were successively worked out by the Kundasale scientists, irrigation schemes were put into place by D. S Senanayake’s vision, and modern intelligent agricultural methods based on soil chemistry slowly came into being with pioneers like Dr. Joachime, Dr. Abeyratne and Dr. Panabokke (one time Director General of Agriculture) leading the way. Of course only oldies like me remember these pioneers and what they achieved for this country.
      In the 1970s, the first set of improved varieties were replaced by “dwarf varieties etc, and the H4 series come into being. But today uninformed idiots (some of them Marxists who want to get the farmers under their Wing) have been urging the farmers to go back to pre-1920 seeds, and even some Buddhist monks like Ven. Ben Nalaka have been roped into this, as they know nothing about seed varieties and their abysmally poor performance.

      Ancient seed varieties are useful for making hybrids, or for specialized niche markets, but they can never replace the modern varieties, or else the country will have to go hungry.

      • 0
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        Edward,

        Yes…that too sounds very correct. It’s just that the ancient chronicles speak more of bountiful harvests. Also catastrophes are usually more chronicled because of its pain- good times are taken as normalcy. Shouldn’t we be progressing along those ancient lines? Famines were common all throughout history, but for Sri Lanka, near the equator and having plenty of rainfall, soil was generally extremely fertile. But, guess that during colonization, displacement of people, and industrialization after that farmers and farmland became much reduced.

        However, I wonder what Ranil’s manifesto (or recent budgetary statements) was all about- i.e.the selling of rice to a whole regional belts of India, and a land bridge to that effect (although it would be far cheaper to put the rice on boats).

        Our soil is not nearly as bad as America’s is. We still have some hope. Therefore we mustn’t also buy America’s agricultural technology so as to keep up to par with their global system of money-works.

        • 0
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          Hello Ramona,

          “- i.e.the selling of rice to a whole regional belts of India, and a land bridge to that effect (although it would be far cheaper to put the rice on boats).”

          Still got that Indian bee in your bonnet, have you?

      • 0
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        Prof. and Edward,
        A very good rebuttal from personal experience AND with good data for all those hysterical “experts” who are promoting organic farming. Ratana Thero is not old enough to remember the famines in places like China and India. B.Nalaka is semi- educated.
        One question: If bone meal is needed, how can it be supplied without eating the beef?

  • 1
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    The presidential focus seems to have been on the impact of agrochemicals on the health of Us, the People, so We the People firmly endorse the policy. However, like in much of life, balance is the key.

    Human awareness that crops can be grown to sustain life dates back only about 10,000 years, and this has certainly revolutionised our ability to move from hunter-gatherer to the formidable species we are today, where humans have become the biggest danger to themselves and the planet.

    All that the author states makes sense, but there are a few holes that We the People wish to fill today. Let’s forget for the moment about sugar, crystal meth and the like, and focus on agri-chemicals, which is the subject of this article.

    The Presidential decree is doubtless predicated on the rapidly escalating epidemic of chronic kidney disease of unknown aetiology, called CKDu in short. Being from the Rajarata himself, there is no doubt a huge moral burden on the President to be seen to do something about this disease, which our undoubtedly accredited scientists and medics haven’t yet been able to crack, despite it having been around since the 1990-s.

    We the People recall that there was a large study undertaken by some Sri Lankan scientists working in conjunction with the WHO, culminating in a publication in a serious journal, BMC Nephrology. This publication can be accessed here: http://bmcnephrol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2369-14-180

    We the People invite the readers to review this article, focusing on just the sense of it, and looking for evidence of causative factors in the text. It this article, there are many references to the heavy metal cadmium, found at levels high enough to result in kidney failure.

    We the People also know that Cadmium is a naturally occurring contaminant in phosphate based fertilisers, which is used liberally in Sri Lanka (in fact this has bene encouraged by successive governments to push the ‘green revolution’. It is not difficult for any sensible person to derive the obvious conclusion that the Cadmium from fertiliser applications must get into soil and from there into food crops; the greatest load of which must come from rice, which is consumed in abundance by our People.

    The question is, why did the WHO report not conclusively implicate Cadmium? And the next question is why is there the focus on controlling agrochemicals. Get the picture?

    We the People are beginning to smell something fishy here, but nevertheless laud the government for taking this measure, albeit much to the author’s chagrin, because it is but one small step towards getting close to reducing the spread of this deadly disease, plus many more because phosphate based fertiliser also contains Arsenic and a host of other toxins that can lead to various other adverse health effects.

    We the People also advocate that the government should also review the food consumed by the inhabitants of the Rajarata, and then take suitable action to test the food; and if found to contain Cadmium in dangerous amounts (taken in context of mass of food consumed), to take immediate measures to reduce the Cadmium load that is currently being carried by the innocent people in our poorest regions.

    • 0
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      We the people,

      There is one big elephant in the room that you have not referred to. Is Phospate used only in Rajarata? If not, why do farmers in other parts suffer from CKD at the same rate?

      • 0
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        We the People did not wish to bore the readers with the full whack of information in our message, so we resorted to a bit of brevity.

        The elephant in the room, dear Old Codger, (btw, you do mean “If not, why do farmers in other parts NOT suffer from CKD at the same rate”, don’t you?) is the fact that the Rajarata farmers are more prone to CKDu because they get their share of Cadmium from their own fertiliser applications, and in addition get the Cadmium that comes from the fertiliser run offs from irrigation tanks that store water from the hill country applications too via the Mahaveli diversion scheme.

        Note that Badulla too is deemed an endemic area, but not any other region not served by Mahaveli water.

        We the People fear that this disease (small numbers of cases are now emerging in non-endemic areas) will spread far and wide in due course, unless something quite drastic is done in short order.

        • 0
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          wethepeople,

          Sorry, that’s what I meant. But why are the farmers still clamouring for cheap fertiliser? Are they suicidal?

          • 0
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            Dear Old Codger
            They are not suicidal – they are poor and ignorant, and victims of misguided (but perhaps well-intentioned) policies.

            They have been indoctrinated into believing that the more fertiliser they throw on their fields, the greater will their crop yield be.

            The same philosophy may be being applied to weedicides and pesticides, so in addition to the very visible CKDu epidemic, one can only imagine what wider impact this lethal cocktail of toxins is having on human health in our dear country.

            It’s very sad, yet there is nothing by way of a thoughtful effort to nail Cadmium as the culprit for the CKDu epidemic.

            Control of fertiliser will help, maybe in decades, but there is an immediate need to get the food that these farmers eat tested and then steps taken to bring in appropriate solutions.

  • 1
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    *chuckles*

    Prof. Dharmawardhane is guilty of a basic no-no in science. The fact that one class of toxin source has not been banned is no reason to criticize that which has been banned. Perhaps he is miffed that the ban affects his own territory. Everyone knows that air pollution, tobacco, fizzy drinks etc. are disease causing and need to be addressed. The fact that they have not been adequately addressed so far takes nothing away from that which has been addressed as the good professor seems to imply.

    I grant that if you take the phrase “toxin-free Sri Lanka” that implies that it will be rid of all toxins. Indeed, that is and should be the ultimate goal. If you read the manifesto of President Maithripala, that is the goal. From natural agriculture to renewable energy to innovation economy … that has, and always will be the goal. However, national governments and political tugs-of-war contribute to slowing down or working retroactively against that manifesto and that is indeed a tragedy. Additionally, 5 years is probably not going to be enough to complete the reversal but it is certainly sufficient to set it irreversibly on its way. That many not, of course, be in the best interest of multinationals and most politicians but I, for one, am not too bothered that those eggs get broken in the creation of the toxin free omelette.

    Oh and by the way, FYI professor, the Consumer Affairs Authority found a “buddy version” of popular carbonated drinks to contain 16 spoons of sugar and not just 6. And, yes, the average speed in Colombo is down to 12, and if it goes down to 10 like it did in Thailand, then the economy would be compromised as happened in that country as well. So, that too needs to be addressed and hopefully they will be. To some extent, tobacco has been curbed and so too alcohol.

    Further, the application of agro-toxins in the hills have leached and been carried by water bodies to places like Wilgamuwa and Wasgamuwa so this is not something that lives in the area where it is applied only. I am sure also that the professor is well aware that alkalines in the soil of certain areas have cause the chemicals mentioned to become highly toxic. He refuses to mention these. I wonder why?

    /* Chemical analyses of the soil, water and food have NOT revealed any relevant toxins from agrochemicals. */

    REALLY professor? And could you point to the source(s) of your claim please? I have counter analysis that I can provide you with and I can also tell you who funded ALL of the analysis in what sector with what goal in mind. That is the advantage of having grown up with agricultural societies, having a father who was the director of the ARTI, having worked with farmers for over a decade on every kind of agrarian practice imaginable (not simply sitting in the rarefied environment which is a university laboratory) and working now with the highest echelons of government in general and this program you are talking about specifically.

  • 0
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    We the people, who ever they are, or who ever he is, seems to think cadmium is the problem. I have attended a seminar on CKDu last December in Colombo where several experts referred to studies by the geology dept in Peradeniya, and also an independent study with the help of Tokyo university, which show that Cadmium, Lead, Mercury, arsenic and other metal toxins are below 10 parts per billion (that is, if any, it is the naturally occurring amounts that are found, or even less, and this was explained as being due to the hardness of Rajarata water which precipitates out the metals and other explanations. But one person said that there is fluoride and every one agreed).
    I also downloaded this
    http://bmcnephrol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2369-14-180
    reference given by We-the-people, and that reference also says that after analyzing nearly 250 samples of water, they found no toxins at any significant amounts. Even the Cd levels are essentially normal with some high samples which could be just statistics, but they do speculate that there is some possibility of Cd being the cause, but merely as a very very weak suggestion.
    So, I don’t think there is any hard evidence that there is cadmium poisoning. The same agrochemicals are used in Agalawatte, Gampaha or Deniyaya, in even larger quantities than for paddy, and there is no CKDu incidence in those areas or signs of cd poisoning. A lot of fertilizer is used in sugar cane, but we have no signs of CKDu. If it is Cd poisoning, doctors can recognize it. There are no such signs, and the Scientists don’t know of a definite cause yet. Unfortunately, only
    the WHO study was funded, but after that the govt. has not funded any other study.
    Instead it is doing politics as some sort of “aes baending”
    .
    Ven. Ratana or the President also do not know and they are just following the misconceptions and real fears of the majority who think that the ancient “Rischiwaru” knew everything, and that Sri Lanka was a land of plenty and exported rice to other countries during the ancient time etc, which is simply the opposite of the actual historical record. People say, “Oh there was no kidney disease in the old

    In the old days in Europe, when a bad thing happened, it was blamed on a witch and she was burned. Sometimes the problem (e.g., a flood, or a plague) abated, and then they though, aha, it was the right thing to burn the witch.
    In Eastern countries like India and Sri lanka also a “billa” was sacrificed. It was because there was a flood in Kelaniya that the kind sent of Vihara-Maha devi his daughter as a sacrifice into the sea. Today the “billa” is scientific agriculture, but when the billa does not work, they will blame something else or someone else, but the blame will never be on the politicians as they will have moved on..

    By banning safe herbicides like Glyphosate and cutting down on fertilizer without providing viable alternatives, these short-sighted policies will launch an irreversible destructive process that only the poor people will face, while the rich will also face hardship but they will however manage.

  • 0
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    There is no kidney disease among farmers. It is all imagination. How can there by cadmium in the soil when sri lanka has no cadmium industry even !

    All the experts here are saying it.

    Anyway, I say let the status-quo prevail

    Let a few farmers die due to this imaginary kidney disease. Who cares !

    There will be better profit for those that are left alive. We should not stand in the way of science and progressive agriculture!

    Phooey to organic food. The more chemicals and heavy metals in your food, the better !

    • 0
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      Maalumiris,
      You are such a defeatist. Edward is talking about Cadmium. He didn’t say anything about other causes like Arsenic ,cyanide, and Natha Deviyo..
      My policy is: Anything is ok in moderation, alcohol and cyanide included. What would we do with with all that lovely Manioc and toddy otherwise?

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