ProtectAfrica

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Nine Companies Sue Govt Over DDT

By Paul Amoru | Kampala

The government is embroiled in a court battle with nine companies from Lango over the use of Dichloro Diphenyl Trichloroethane (DDT), a chemical used to kill mosquitoes that transmit malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.

The companies sued the government for sanctioning the Indoor Residual Spraying of DDT in Lango sub-region.

The spraying was designated to start in the districts of Oyam, Apac and Lira.

Lango Cooperative Union, Lango Organic Farming Promotion, Dunavant Uganda Limited and Bio Weevil Uganda Limited are among the complainants seeking court intervention.

The companies accuse the government of sanctioning DDT use without fulfilling some obligations.

“The decision by the government to introduce DDT in the districts is illegal as it contravenes the provisions of the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants of 2001,” the case filed through Tumusiime Kabega and Nile Law Chambers Advocates reads in part.

The companies are seeking an order of interim stay of the spraying of DDT pending the determination of their earlier application for judicial review.

They further accuse the government of engaging the services of Research Triangle International (RTI), a private company which has not observed the necessary precautions for safe usage of DDT.

The nine companies said if the government is allowed to implement its decision, the people of Lango sub-region would suffer irreparable loss and diverse health problems.

Earlier in April, organic farmers in Lango sub region rejected DDT spraying in their houses demanding an assurance from the government of compensation when their products lose market from their buyers.

Speaking in a consultative meeting organised between the team from the Ministry of Health led by the State Minister for Health, Dr Emmanuel Otaala, and Apac District leaders recently, the farmers asked the minister to explain whether the government would compensate them when their products are contaminated.

“I would like to assure organic farmers in Apac that DDT is not bad and it is going to be sprayed inside the houses but not in the fields,” Dr Otaala said.

DDT is one of the best known synthetic pesticides. It is a chemical with a unique and controversial history.

The Monitor (Kampala) | NEWS 22 May 2008

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