No respite for Indian consumer as several nations ban pesticide-laden vegetables

Little has been done to curb the excessive use of pesticides in vegetables and fruits sold across the national capital even as several countries have banned the import of vegetables and fruits from India due to the excessive use of pesticides, Delhi High Court was told today.

A report submitted by amicus curiae Saket Sikri, appointed by the court, today informed the bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw that in a number of vegetables and edible items, pesticide residue was found to be beyond permissible limits.

The report noted that a large quantity of vegetables and fruits sold in the capital contains dangerous pesticides that can cause serious health problems.

Quoting media reports, the report claimed that due to excessive usage of pesticides in fruits and vegetable, "various countries have banned the import of Indian vegetables and fruits and many more are under scrutiny".

The European Union temporarily banned the import of brinjal, taro plant, bitter gourd and snake gourd from India, while the import of Alphonso mangoes has now been lifted (See: Good for farmers, bad for consumers: EU to lift ban on Alfonso).

Saudi Arabia also banned green chillies from India due to excessive pesticide residue.

The report said that it was not only the consumer who was at risk, but people living in the vicinity of area where such pesticides were sprayed indiscriminately were also risk.

It said the issue of pesticides was a pan-India problem which needs to be addressed by the authorities at the earliest.

The amount of pesticides used by farmers in India is reported to be as much as 750 times higher based on European standards.

The bench has asked the Delhi government to go through the report and file a status report by 8 April.