Sunday, September 7, 2014

Muthalamada – A Toxic Hub of Kerala

The killer pesticide Endosulphan had banned globally 3 years ago. Still it is extensively used in many crops especially in mango gardens. The mango city of Kerala named Muthalamada in Palakkad district is one of such place where endosulphan is used by farmers thoughtlessly.

Muthalamada is one of the largest mango production centre in whole India. Acres of land is solely used for mango tree cultivation. During the flowering season of mangoes the whole area will be filled with the nice smell of mango flowers and the scenery also will be very beautiful. But the high end pesticides like Malathion , Azoxistobin, Omethoate etc are sprayed in these gardens to kill pests and mites. They attack the mango trees mostly during flowering season. Pest attack at this season will affect the production of mangoes as well as its quality. So farmers indiscriminately use high end pesticides.

 Local environmental activists are raising sound against these pesticide usage. Kerala had already witnessed the bad affect of thoughtless use of endosulphan at Kasaragod district creating a toxic hub. Eventhough the endosulphan application had stopped in Kasaragod , babies are still born with many abnormalities and disabilities. But the farmers in other parts of Kerala are not taking it seriously. In Muthalamada the Endosulphan reaches in large cans without any label from Pollachi in Tamilnadu. Most of the farmers are unaware of the deadly impact of endosulphan in their life. In most cases the nozzle of the endosulphan sprayer is directed to sky and hence it immediately reaches the lungs of spraying man. Instantly it starts its action , and begins killing the affected person inch by inch.

Muthalamada earns crores from mango export. A rough statistics says that about 200 crore rupees mangoes are exported from Muthalamada in every mango season. The mango orchards of Muthalamada is about 20,000 acres. February to June is the season of Muthalamada. Hundreds of trucks rush in and out of Muthalamada mango tree gardens during these months. Almost all the best varieties of mangoes in India are produced in Muthalamada.  Malgova, Alphonso, Neelam etc are the favourites in mango market and all these varieties are produced in Muthalamada.

Mangoes reach in world market mainly from Latin American countries like Peru and Venezuela. But one advantage of Muthalamada is that they are the early birds in mango market. Before getting ripened the mangoes from Peru and Venezuela these Muthalamada mangoes are ripened. Hence they reach in world market earlier than the other items.

But the indiscriminate use of pesticides especially endosulphan will oust Muthalamada mangoes from world market soon. Before happening it another danger will occur in Kerala. After Enmakaje and other villages in Kasaragod district a new toxic hub will be set up in Muthalamada.

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