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> Uganda: NGOs Threaten to Sue NEMA Over Use of DDT

New Vision (Kampala)

NEWS / 2 May 2007  / Posted to the web 3 May 2007

By Chris Kiwawulo / Kampala
THE Uganda Network on Toxic Free Malaria Control has asked the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to halt the spray of DDT.

“Basing on the Constitution which entitles every citizen to a healthy and clean environment, we demand that NEMA withdraws the permission it has given the Ministry of Health to proceed with the spray of DDT.

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“This should be done within 45 days. Failure to adhere to our demand, we shall be left with no option but to take legal action,” the network chairman, Robert Tumwesigye, said.

NEMA recently approved the use of DDT to fight malaria. Last week, the Ministry of Health announced that it would start the indoor spraying of the chemical in August.

The network is a consortium of over 100 local and international charities fighting for the control of malaria using toxic free methods.

Addressing journalists in Kampala on Friday, Tumwesigye argued that NEMA’s Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of DDT leaves many questions unanswered.

“The assessment was simply a statement. It did not tackle issues like the effects of DDT on humans. It did not suggest the alternatives if mosquitoes become resistant to DDT. Besides that, the public has not been fully sensitised. There is need for a new EIA to be conducted if we must use DDT.”

The group claimed DDT causes congenital malformation among newborn babies’ faces, sexual organs and the male adults’ sperm ducts.

The secretary, Ellady Muyambi, said malaria is an endemic disease and not an epidemic to warrant the use of DDT. The 2001 Stockholm Convention that Uganda ratified in July 2004 calls for the use of DDT in areas where malaria is an epidemic.

Pro-biodiversity Conservations chief Ivan Twehaireyo said DDT is an organic pollutant, which stays in the environment for a long time.

“Once applied, it takes between two to 15 years in humans and wildlife, 56 days in lakes and 28 days in rivers.”

http://allafrica.com/stories/200705030035.html

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