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Lolano P. Khuvung
Plants provide up to 95% of the world’s food supply either directly or indirectly. If crops are required to develop in a healthy manner, it is very necessary that undesirable and destructive micro-organism

and plants are eliminated.

Today pesticides (insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, rodenticides, nematicides etc) are extensively used all over the world to save crops in the field and in the storage. Evidence suggests that not only are chemical pesticides used in increasing quantities but they are sometimes used and handled in an irresponsible way. This has led to problems regarding the safe use of pesticides and contamination of the environment.

The problem of misuse of pesticides is a world-wide problem. This problem has arisen because of insufficient information and training. The manufacturers and distributors of pesticides and the user all carry a responsibility for safe handling and the use of pesticides.

The problems of pesticides safety can be studied under any one of the three (3) following categories:


  1. Education - is directed towards various extension and training activities.
  2. Enforcement - involves government regulation to import, manufacture and sale of pesticides.
  3. Engineering - stress the technological development, such as new containers, dosages, application and safety equipments developed specially for the users.

The above three approaches could be co-ordinated to provide an efficient and effective solution to deal with the problems of pesticides safety in the developing world.

More attention must be given to the problem by government, development agencies and pesticides industry. All must accept the fact that multiple and integrated approaches are needed to minimize human health and environment problems associated with the use of pesticides.

Application of pesticides by the user
Pesticides like drugs are beneficial to man when properly used: if misused they may be extremely dangerous.

It is entirely possible for a user to handle pesticides safely for many years with no obvious ill-effects to himself or his environment. The ill effects are preventable. Safe handling of pesticides by the user may be dealt with under the following precautionary measures:

Pesticide Selection
- Before making a selection, the pest problem should be identified.

- Select a pesticide that would control the pest with minimum danger to other organisms.

- The pesticide should be one approved, registered and recommended.

- Buy only the required quantity of pesticide and avoid storage.

Handling and Mixing Pesticides

- Mixing and loading operations are the most hazardous because they generally result in possible of exposure i.e. spills.

- Obtain proper equipment, including protective clothing, etc.

- Mix chemicals outside or in a well-ventilated area.

- Clean up spilled pesticides immediately from skin, clothing etc.

- Persons engaged in mixing, handling or applying pesticides should not smoke eat or drink while working

- Do not use mouth to siphon a pesticide from the container.

Storage of Pesticides
Proper storage of pesticides will protect the health and well being of people, help protect against environmental contamination and protect the chemical shelf life.

Attention must be paid to the following criteria:

- The storage warehouse must be located away from highly populated area, from wells or domestic water storage tanks and a well-drained land.

- The site should be accessible from all sides, to help fire fighting.

- The storage buildings should be made of non-combustible materials.

- The flooring should be of cement and should have a slope to drain off any spillage.

- A wash basin with running water and emergency shower should be placed in a suitable area.

- Warming signs in local languages should be placed on the outside of all walls of the warehouse.

- Roof should be leak proof and the material should be handled with care.

- The stores must be well lit. The electrical fittings should be sound and must be properly earthed.

To ensure safe handling and transportation of pesticides the following points need to be taken into consideration.
- The best type of vehicle is the open type such as pick up truck.

- Wettable powers and dust formulation in paper containers should be protected from rain.

- Avoid puncturing or tearing paper containers when handling them during loading or unloading or storing.

Education from every sector have a unique role to play as it is only through join efforts of the crop protection specialists and the medical profession that will make the scheme a success and bring out awareness among the general public.

The private sector has also an important role in relation to enforcement. An enlightened advice from the private sector on the release of a new pesticide is important. The need of the hour is co-ordination of the efforts by all agencies concerned with the safe effective use of pesticides.                        May 2007

Courtesy: DIPR, Nagaland