Brazil, one of the largest food producers around the world, has approved over 1,000 new pesticide products in recent years.
In order to bolster agriculture and deregulate the environment, the latest corrupted presidents of Brazil have allowed the use of over 1,200 pesticides and weedkillers, including 193 containing chemicals banned in the EU.
The spike in pesticides being registered and approved in Brazil has primarily occurred since 2016 under president Jair Bolsonaro and his predecessor, Michel Temer, in a push to deregulate the environment and bolster agriculture, explains the new report.
According to the investigation, many of these pesticides are being sold by European and Chinese companies, despite some of their ingredients being banned or restricted in their own countries. For example, German chemical giant BASF chemicals registered for the use of a product containing fipronil, a pesticide banned in the EU and linked to the massive die-off of honey bees in France.
Corruption in the air
Both Temer and Bolsonaro have tight links to agribusiness leaders.
The sitting president, Bolsonaro, has been of particular concern to environmentalists and conservationists.
Among his many provocative policies:
- He has announced plans to take Brazil out of the Paris Agreement
- Strip indigenous people of land protections
- Restrict the power of international NGOs like Greenpeace and the WWF
- Dismantle Brazil’s Environment Ministry.
This is more than worrying when you consider that Brazil is home to 60 percent of the world’s largest tropical rainforest, the Amazon
Effects on population
The effect of this lax attitude towards pesticides is already being felt by people living in rural Brazil. A report from July 2018 documented people suffering from pesticide poisonings across seven different locations in Brazil, predominately in farming communities, indigenous communities, and Afro-Brazilian communities. In 2016 alone, over 4,200 cases of poisonings by exposure to pesticides were registered in the country.
Marelaine, a young teacher in a rural community in the south of Bahia reported: “The airplane was spraying beside the school and the wind was blowing it to the school. One couldn’t smell it but could feel the drift entering through the window. The children, between 4 and 7 years old, were complaining that their gums and eyes were burning.”
“I started feeling sick, nauseous. I tried to drink water to get better, but it didn’t help. I started vomiting many times, until I had thrown up all I had in my stomach and was just retching,” said Carina, a resident of Primavera do Leste municipality in Mato Grosso state.
One thing is clear: the people from Brazil and around the world – Brazil is a larger food exporter – and biodiversity of Brazil are in for a bumpy ride over the coming years, to say the very least. We are not just talking about food shortage here… It’s food poisoning or better said murder!