Pressure mounts to ban glyphosate again after Monsanto case

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

A fresh attempt is being made to convince the government to ban glyphosate again following the Monsanto case in the US.

Environmentalists accused Plantation Industries Minister Naveen Dissanayake and former Agriculture Minister Duminda Dissanayake of representing agro chemical giant, Monsanto, the maker of glyphosate-based weedkillers such as Roundup in Sri Lanka and campaigning for the lifting of the ban on glyphosate.

Sajeewa Chamikara of the Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform alleged that several academics were also behind the move.

Co-cabinet Spokesman Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the government should re-impose the ban after a US court ruled it had caused the terminal cancer of an American man.

The government lifted the ban on glyphosate which was imposed in 2015 over fears that it was one of the causes for the kidney disease epidemic in the North-Central Province and elsewhere.

In May this year Cabinet approved lifting the ban on glyphosate for tea and rubber for a period of 36 months. In July a gazette notice was issued by the Registrar of Pesticides removing the ban.

Addressing the post cabinet media briefing at the Government Information Department yesterday (Wednesday), Minister Senaratne said he opposed the lifting of the ban from the beginning and considering the global conversation regarding the health and environmental aspects of glyphosate the government should re-impose the ban immediately.

He said there were about 482 cases against the agrochemical giant, Monsanto, the maker of glyphosate-based weedkillers such as Roundup.

Monsanto was recently ordered to pay USD 289 million in damages in the first of possibly thousands of US lawsuits over alleged links between a weedkiller and cancer.