Pesticides- Poison in the Czech Republic

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This week ecologists and environmentalists from 30 organisations and 12 countries will meet in the Northern Bohemian town of Ceska Lipa to discuss pesticide usage here in the Czech Republic. The ecologists hope the meeting will help accelerate the implementation of the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants -an international agreement to restrict the usage of certain highly toxic pesticides. Radio Prague's Nicole Klement spoke with Ivona Pulkrabkova of Arnika, an ecological organisation and the main organiser of the Ceska Lipa conference.

"This conference is about the usage and dangers of pesticides and its goal is to finding a way to help the passing of the Stockholm agreement in the Czech Republic and in other countries of Central and Eastern Europe." Could you tell me why this conference was organised? "Arnika the ecological organisation, has a project called toxic free future and on behalf of this project we have organised this conference."

Does this mean there a problem with pesticide usage here in the Czech Republic?

"Of course there is. Here in the Czech Republic in Karlovy Vary and Milovice there still exist leftovers of the toxic pesticide DDT."

Can you explain what DDT is as well as its effects on humans and wildlife?

"DDT is one of the pesticides that was banned by the Stockholm agreement. But, some of the banned pesticides are still in use. For example, the Czech Republic still uses a toxin called Lindam and this pesticide as well as DDT have big effects on human bodies. Most of all pesticides causes long term effects, because traces are left over and can still be found in food, even though they have been banned for decades. These pesticides can cause endocrine disruption, they can affect the immune system or hinder neurological development, and so on."

And do you know if there have been any Czech civilians who have complained of symptoms resulting from exposure to pesticide here in the Czech Republic?

"There is a study called POPS- toxins in the heart of Europe. And there you can find all of the information concerning DDT or any other pesticides in the Czech Republic, Central and Eastern Europe."

If you had to pick one main environmental issue here in the Czech Republic to be tackled first, what would it be?

"If I could talk only about or projects- what our main campaign is - that would be the toxin free future campaign. It's a campaign geared at informing people about the danger of toxins here in the Czech Republic. As well, we are trying to ratify the Stockholm agreement and implement a special law that would make all factories and companies inform the public and the government about the toxins they release into the air, water and so on. This type of law has already been passed in the United States and other Western countries and it is called the toxin release inventory."

Author: Nicole Klement
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