African nations back off of limited DDT use


Anti-DDT business interests appear triumphant, if only temporarily,  in their efforts to stop the use of DDT in the fight against malaria.

ProtectAfrica.com reports use of DDT has been stopped in northern UgandaNine corporations sued to stop the sprayingNew Visions reports a shift to a chemical named ICON for use in Indoor Residual Spraying, designed to protect people against mosquitoes in their homes.

I have links to stories saying Rwanda has abandoned DDT in the past few weeks, but none of the links work.

Meanwhile, from The East African in Nairobi, Kenya, comes the report that Tanzania became the first East African nation in recent years to use DDT for limited, indoor spraying. [But be wary of this source; the article also claims many nations outlawed DDT after 1972; not accurate in Africa, nor most other places.]

There is high irony in businesses opposing the use of DDT when environmental organizations in other nations do not oppose it.

6 Responses to African nations back off of limited DDT use

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    My understanding is that the EU not only has no such ban, but has no mechanism to make such a ban. Instead, “organic cotton” marketers have claimed that Ugandan cotton is contaminated with DDT (virtually impossible under the conditions of DDT use, and contrary to the interests of the farmers accused of doing it). The buyers claim they won’t buy, and so they force the farmers to organize and sue against use of DDT that cannot contaminate the cotton.

    There is much, much to do, yes.

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  2. Ngom says:

    Reasonable citizen, I agree with you that people live short lives and you may indeed save their lives with a quick fix solution. However, strategically, in the long run, the side effects of a quick fix solution may become the death trap of future generations. Not only that, when their environments are messed up, they cannot even export some of their products to the world markets to earn the money to buy the quick fix. For example, if I recall correctly, the EU countries have recently slapped a ban on certain imports from Uganda because of the concern about the resumption of the use of DDT.

    A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. You are looking at the socioeconomic solutions as impossibilities. Startegically we have to comit to improving the quality of lives. It may take longer than our own life times. The measure of the solution cannot therefore be based on the length of our own lives. The war on cancer for example has been long. Many people have died even in my life time. But I know that we have come a long way from whence we started. It used to be an automatic death sentence to be diagnosed with cancer. More recently, even I, thought there was no hope for AIDS patients. Guess what, people can now live reasonably normal lives with those diseases. So, I believe that the quality of lives, even in Mali can be and will be improved to the point that diseases such as malaria will be reduced below the current level.

    One more point, there is a lot of abuse of resources in many of the malaria infested countries. For example, in Uganda, money that was allocated for AIDS and malaria care has been allegedly abused by top government officials. The donors and the people need to fix such problems. They can be fixed in our own life times. Such funds can go a long way towards protecting people from malaria through education and buying protective materials such as mosquito nets, improving the nutritional status of vulnerable children or buying medicine, all of which will make the individuals resist the diseases much better, in our life times.

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  3. I have been to Niger and I would say that those socio conditions will not be remedied in my lifetime in that country.I think that people live short lives in Niger and short fixes are good ones to improve the quality of their life. Again, under specific conditions, I would approve the use DDT if it was cheaper, easily available, easily applied, and the malaria rate was unacceptable in the local population.

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  4. Ngom says:

    The recent rise in interest in using DDT to kill mosquitos is, in my view, not driven by a moral imperative to save lives. Rather, it is driven by profit or a search for a market to make a quick buck by the manufacturing companies, who, by the way do not reside in countries that have banned the use of DDT. It is also driven by petty opportunists looking for “kitu kidogo” (greasing the palm) from the manufacturers when they facilitate the sale of DDT. This is not to say that malaria does not present a serious challenge. It does. However, DDT is a quick fix, but while a quick fix may work in the short run, it will miserably fail in the long run when it will have select for DDT resistant mosquitos and the side effects on humans and other organisms become manufest. While malaria vectored by mosquitos do cause serious illneses, the disease is also as much mitigated by social conditions (poverty, ignorance, war, corruption and misgoernance, all of which are intimately inter-connected just as we see in other diseases as AIDS). So, instead of focusing on technological solutions, we also need to forus on the sociopoliticoeconomic solutions.

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  5. I would not make any comparison between African countries and US as to the need for DDT. And I would not compare the environmental groups between the two either.
    The need is different and the environment is different. I would support DDT in special applications in Africa and not in the US. But killing the host is not an effective long term solution for malaria anyway. There is more work to be done on devising solutions but control needs to occur now to protect people now the best way we know.

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  6. protectafrica says:

    What do you mean environmental organizations in other nations do not oppose it?

    I’d love to know your reasoning behind that interesting statement.

    So if DDT was going to be used in your own neighborhood would you be happy with it? The human cost is what is really important here.

    Rwanda as far as I’ve read is using alternatives to DDT. See this story: Rwanda Refuses DDT… http://protectafrica.wordpress.com/2007/08/01/rwanda-refuses-ddt/ any more information on that would be great…

    Please visit http://www.protectafrica.wordpress.com / http://www.friendsforpeaceinafrica.org / http://www.exposeugandasgenocide.blogspot.com

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