Don’t look now: Businesses ask Uganda to block DDT spraying


News comes out of Kampala that the delay in implementing the use of DDT in a Rachel Carson-approved program of integrated pest management — for indoor residual spraying only — faces strong opposition.

From environmentalists? No, you’ll recall that Environmental Defense, the group that led the fight for a ban on broadcast use of DDT in the U.S. has been pressuring the Bush administration and others to use DDT appropriately for years.

The opposition comes from Uganda businesses.

“Zero tolerance on DDT spraying is the feeling of the private sector. Even at the East African Community DDT is a condemned chemical. Government should look for other alternatives,” Mr David Lule, the managing director of Hortexa, a horticultural exporting association to the EU [European Union], said.

Don’t look for corrections or apologies from the pro-poison lobbyists yet. Junk “scientist” Steven Milloy, the “Competitive Enterprise Institute” (which claims to represent businesses) and others have yet to correct any of the many errors they’ve made in their slash-and-burn campaign for poisoning Africa. Why would they change now?

Uganda: Businesses Urge Govt to Rescind Use of DDT

Dorothy Nakaweesi
Kampala

THE ferocious debate about the use of DDT chemicals to control the spread of malaria has picked up again with the private sector threatening to ally with the European Union against the government.

“Zero tolerance on DDT spraying is the feeling of the private sector. Even at the East African Community DDT is a condemned chemical. Government should look for other alternatives,” Mr David Lule, the managing director of Hortexa, a horticultural exporting association to the EU, said.

The renewed controversy stems from the increasing threats from the EU, which is the leading importer of Uganda’s products. The EU is concerned that spraying DDT would endanger the lives of their consumers and would therefore put a total ban on any commodity found containing DDT residues.

Members of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda Trade Core Team at their quarterly meeting chaired by Mr George Walusimbi challenged government to use other DDT alternatives on the market.

This comes even after the World Health Organisation (WHO) last year, okayed the government’s decision to use DDT for control malaria within domestic enclosures and not in gardens. The ministry of Health also announced that Uganda would start using DDT in June.

At a heated debate, PSFU members asked their board to draw a specific draft paper on DDT about its likely dangers and threat to the growth of the export industry should it be used.

“There is need to look at the total cost of spraying DDT in comparison with the country’s export value. A lot has been said but as PSFU we need to inform the government how much the country is likely to lose if a ban is slapped on us,” Mr Ismail Sekandi, the executive director of Uganda Hotel Owners Association (UHOA) said.

A ban from the EU, Uganda’s largest trading partner, would come as a blow to the export industry that is already struggling with supply constraints to deliver to the market despite a zero tariff regime to the EU under the Everything but Arms arrangement.

The editorial from Kampala’s New Vision:

Uganda: DDT Indoor Spraying Should Start Quickly

Kampala

INDOOR residual spraying of DDT which was supposed to have started on March 5 has been delayed due to administrative issues. The state minister for primary healthcare says as soon as the National Drug Authority has registered DDT and approved the company which will supply it, the spraying will begin.

Although many environmentalists are up in arms against the use of DDT and do raise some pertinent issues, a firm decision must be taken.

The debate over whether or not to use DDT centres on the death toll caused by malaria on the one hand and DDT’s nature as an organic pollutant with long-term harm to both human health and the environment.

Clearly, a decision must be taken based on which of the two is a lesser evil. The threat from malaria and the poverty associated with it are far worse than when DDT is used under strict control.

Malaria is the leading cause of death in Uganda, accounting for 25-40% of all in-patient visits at healthcare facilities. Up to 20% of all hospital admissions and 15% of in-patient deaths are due to malaria. The disease claims some 320 people countrywide most of whom are children who are five years and younger.

Uganda, like many tropical countries, has reported chloroquine-resistant malaria and has since 2004 adopted artemisinin-based combination therapy in the fight against malaria.

The National Environment Management Authority has carried out an environment impact assessment audit and recommended the use of DDT under the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Stockholm Convention.

Perhaps the most touching response to the use of DDT came from the director of WHO’s malaria programme Arata Kochi in 2006 who pointed out that unlike the environment, African children did not have powerful movements to champion their wellbeing.

The WHO and the Stockholm Convention are fully aware of Uganda’s problem and DDT is not being used behind anybody’s back. The sooner the indoor spraying starts the better.

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One Response to Don’t look now: Businesses ask Uganda to block DDT spraying

  1. protectafrica says:

    There’s a new development, the court has stopped use of DDT temporarily; the DDT substitute ICON is now being used instead.

    Please visit http://www.protectafrica.wordpress.com for more information.

    Like

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