New Delhi: Days after pesticide-laced lunch killed 23 school children in Bihar, UN body Food and Agriculture Organisation today asked developing countries like India to speed up the withdrawal of hazardous pesticides from their markets.
"The tragic incident in Bihar, India, where 23 school children died after eating a school meal contaminated with monocrotophos, is an important reminder to speed up the withdrawal of highly hazardous pesticides from markets in developing countries," FAO said in a statement.
The experience in many developing countries shows that the distribution and use of such highly toxic products very often poses a serious risk to human health and environment, it said.
Stating that safeguards are difficult to ensure in many countries, the UN body "therefore recommends that governments in developing countries should speed up the withdrawal of highly hazardous pesticides from their markets".
Monocrotophos is an organophosphorus pesticide that is considered highly hazardous by FAO and the World Health Organization. This pesticide is prohibited in Australia, China, European Union and US, and in many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
"The incident in Bihar underscores that secure storage of pesticide products and safe disposal of empty pesticide containers are risk reduction measures which are just as crucial as more prominent field-oriented steps like wearing proper protective masks and clothing," FAO said.
23 school children died after consuming pesticide-laced meals in Dharmasti Gandaman village under Mashrakh block in Bihar`s Saran district on July 16.