New Delhi: On the occasion of World Health Day, 7 April, Navdanya along with Swadeshi Jagran Manch appeals to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban Monsanto on account of its illegal introduction of herbicide tolerant GMO Round-up Ready Flex Bt cotton (RR Bt Cotton).
Round-up, a glyphosate-based herbicide has been declared a “probable carcinogen” by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Sri Lanka and many European countries have already banned glyphosate because of reported and probable deaths as well as diseases directly linked to the use of this herbicide.
The Central Institue for Cotton Research (CICR) has confirmed the illegal presence of round-up ready (RR) Bt cotton (see Report here) in different areas based on reports of contamination from farmers. RR Bt cotton is not only illegal but it is a major hazard to the health of the Indian people.
“Round up should be banned immediately. In addition to it being carcinogenic, it is a highly toxic substance which leads to kidney failure, DNA damage and even disrupts the endocrine system,” Dr Vandana Shiva said commenting on the health effects of Round up.
Contrary to the message put out by Monsanto, genetically modified crops do not have greater yield nor do they provide greater nutrition. Those traits are inherent to the plant itself. All that GM crops do is allow for the unrestricted use of RoundUp, destroying and rendering the soil dead, devastating biodiversity and causing death and disease in plants, animals and human beings. Monsanto’s priority is not the feeding of the world safely with the health of people in mind, but it is the increase in the use of their toxic chemical products with no regard to their effects on the health of the people of India. The illegal introduction of RR Bt Cotton transgresses all rules and regulations of the Government. (http://www.wiglafjournal.com/pricing/2012/06/monsanto-the-global-glyphosate-market-case-study/)
“India and Indian agriculture is based on biodiversity. We harvest and use every bit of biodiversity whether it be from the grass to the boundaries of our farms to feed our cows, or eating the seasonal green leafy vegetables like Bathua as saag.
Round-up not only can lead to cancer in farmers and the consumers, but it will exterminate all biodiversity and rob India of its food. The food culture of millions of rural Indians will destroyed if Round-up or Round-up Ready crops are allowed in India,” Dr Shiva said.
The Technical Expert Committee of the Supreme Court has also concluded that Herbicide tolerant crops should not be allowed in India because they kill all plants, and they can destroy the food security and livelihood of small farmers. Herbicide resistant traits contaminate and destroy crops that make India a world center of biodiversity.
This is the second time Monsanto has illegally introduced GMO cotton in India and destroyed indigenous cotton varieties with its toxic seeds. Navdanya filed a case in the Supreme Court after Monsanto’s illegal entry of Bt Cotton into India in ’95. As a result of lobbying the Government, Monsanto got approval for Bt1 in India. This led to the looting of some Rs 7000 crore from poor Indian cotton farmers and pushed farmers into debt and suicide. Since ’95 when Monsanto first illegally introduced GMO cotton into India, some 310,000 farmers have committed suicide, most of which are from the cotton belt of India.
“Round up is a known carcinogen, and with the planting of herbicide tolerant RR Bt cotton, the use of Round up, will also increase. This will directly or may have already effected cancer in India. Monsanto has perpetrated a massive fraud on India and I personally request the prime Minister to look into the case as it effects millions of lives. Monsanto should be banned immediately as it has once again challenged the authority of Indian government and the Constitution of India” Ashwani Mahajan said.
Dr Shiva concluded by saying, “ Monsanto should not only be banned but it should be heavily fined for its illegal entry as well as for its illegal extraction of “royalties” from Bt Cotton farmers, which has trapped farmers in debt, pushing hundreds of thousands to suicide. Glyphosate and Round-up should be banned in India and the government should follow the advice of the TEC and ban all herbicide tolerant crops and impose a moratorium for all GM crops for ten years until a robust , independent biosafety assessment is institutionalised. We applaud the prevention of the Bayer-Monsanto merger in India”.
Danger of RoundUp:
As per the Lancet journal, Exposure to Glyphosate has been shown to cause tumours of the mammary glands in rats. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has linked Glyphosate exposure to cancer. RoundUp is many times more toxic than Glyphosate alone. (http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045(15)70134-8/abstract)
On the island of Sri Lanka, 20,000 people have died due to kidney failure attributed to Glyphosate exposure. (http://archive.lankabusinessonline.com/news/sri-lanka-killer-kidney-disease-linked-to-monsanto-weedicide,-phosphate-fertilizer:-study/2081217214)
Argentina has seen a rise in birth defects, cancers, kidney failures, infertility and various other diseases in an otherwise healthy people due to unchecked use of RoundUp. ( http://overgrowthesystem.com/argentina-the-country-that-monsanto-poisoned-photo-essay/)
Minimal exposure by inhalation of Glyphosate – even at 450 times less concentration than that used for spraying- damages DNA in the cells. ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22331240)
By Dr Vandana Shiva – The Asian Age, 23 February 2016