A petition to Parliament by Uasin Gishu County Women Representative, Gladys Boss Shollei to have all harmful herbicides and pesticides banned is still on course.
The County women MP said she will not relent in her push to have the harmful chemicals removed from Kenyan shelves to protect the Kenyan population from diseases related to the chemicals.
She said it was unfortunate that Cancer-causing herbicides and pesticides that have been banned in the United States and Europe were still being imported and sold in Kenya in total disregard to health risks it poses to the people.
Speaking in one of the local Radio stations, Emoo Fm morning live show, Ms. Shollei said she presented the petition to parliament which if approved will ensure the harmful chemicals are not brought to the country, and prohibit customs from clearing such chemicals.
“Some chemicals used in our farms cause cancer and other diseases, these chemicals cannot be sold in their countries of origin because they are banned, but are sold in Kenya because the Pest control product board has failed,” she claimed.
She said in her petition she has cited 36 harmful chemical products that should be removed from the Kenyan market adding that 15600 tons of herbicides and pesticides are imported to Kenya annually.
Out of these, 24 of the products have been proven to contain carcinogenes that potentially causes or induces cancer, 35 contain endocrine disruptors (Chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system) while 24 products contain mutagenic, and 140 contain neurotoxic substances that are poisonous to the nervous system.
Shollei said a thorough scientific research was done by top scientists before she presented her petition to parliament adding that some of the findings are contained in international medical channels.
The MP said assertions fronted by manufacturers that the users must wear protective gear before using the chemicals does not work in Kenya where most of the users were small scale farmers.
“How many of our farmers can afford the protective clothing? can a small scale farmer who needs school fees for his child wait for seven days after spraying to sell his vegetables?” she posed.
“Since we cannot meet the stringent conditions set by the manufacturers, the only thing to do is to ensure the chemicals are not allowed in to the country,” she stressed.
The MP however, said even if Parliament approves the petition, the only people who will ensure the products cease to exist are wananchi.
“We cannot be able to police everywhere if the products are banned, wananchi themselves have to police the use of the chemicals by ensuring that they do not buy nor use the products once they are banned”, she said.
By Kiptanui Cherono