The High Court yesterday directed the government to form an action plan in 90 days to phase out Glyphosate containing pesticides, including Roundup, and to introduce safe alternatives.
In response to a writ petition, the court also asked the authorities concerned to generate public awareness about the harmful impacts of Glyphosate containing pesticides through print and electronic media.
At the same time, the HC issued a rule asking the respondents to explain in eight weeks why they should not be directed to constitute an independent commission to monitor the pesticides that are hazardous to human health and environment.
In the rule, the court asked them to show cause why issuance and renewal of licence for import, sale and use of Glyphosate containing pesticides should not be declared illegal.
Secretaries to ministries of agriculture, health, commerce, labour, environment and forests; executive chairman of Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council, director generals of Bangladesh Agricultural Extension Department, Department of Environment, and Bangladesh Sugarcane Research Institute; directors of Bangladesh Tea Research Institute, Bangladesh Plant Protection Wing, Soil Resources Development Institute, Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research and Bangladesh Crop Protection Association have been made respondents to the rule.
The HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman came up with the order and rule following a writ petition filed collectively by seven rights organisations, including Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela), seeking necessary order.
During yesterday’s hearing, petitioner’s lawyer Advocate Syeda Rizwana Hasan told the court that International Agency for Research on Cancer in a publication in 2015 termed Glyphosate a “possible cause of cancer”.
She said 13,400 cases were filed in the USA, seeking redress against the harms of Glyphosate containing pesticide Roundup of Monsanto.
Three courts of San Francisco and California have already ordered the authorities concerned to give huge compensation to the cancer affected people in 2018 and last year in three cases, Rizwana Hasan argued.
The petitioner’s lawyer however said according to the decisions of the 73th and 77th meetings held on January 9, 2017 and March 14 last year, the Pesticide Technical Advisory Committee took steps to register the alternatives of glyphosate.
Through such registration, the uses of Glyphosate can be stopped completely, the Pesticide Technical Advisory Committee said.
Advocate Sayeed Ahmed Kabir also appeared for the petitioners while Assistant Attorney General Towfik Sajowar represented the state.