El imperialismo cultural y la prohibición del DDT

El Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente (PNUMA) está llevando a cabo una campaña mal enfocada para prohibir el pesticida DDT en virtud de su Convenio Marco sobre Contaminantes Orgánicos Persistentes (COP). Los países tropicales que firmen este convenio dañarán seriamente la salud de sus pueblos.

El DDT es el agente más efectivo en función de los costos jamás producido para el control de las enfermedades transmitidas por moscas y mosquitos. La Academia Nacional de Ciencias de EEUU estima que hasta 1970 el DDT había salvado 500 millones de vidas amenazadas por la malaria. En la India, el rociado efectivo con esta sustancia prácticamente eliminó la enfermedad en los años 60. El número de casos de malaria cayó de 75 millones en 1951 a 50,000 en 1961, y el número de muertes bajó de un millón en la década de 1940 a unos cuantos miles en los años 60. Las mallas contra mosquitos, tan comunes en mi infancia, ya habían desaparecido de las casas urbanas en la época en que era estudiante universitario, a fines de los años 50.

Luego, en los años 70, en gran parte como resultado del temor ambientalista generado por el libro Silent Spring , de Rachel Carson, las agencias de ayuda exterior y las organizaciones de las Naciones Unidas dejaron de promover el DDT y su uso empezó a declinar. Pronto los mosquitos atacaron nuevamente y la malaria endémica volvió a la India. Hasta 1997 el PNUD estima que se habían producido 2.6 millones de casos de malaria.

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