pesticide farmer crops Mohammed Asad/Corbis/Getty Images

De heer Pruitt en het gevaar van pesticiden

IBADAN, NIGERIA – Een nieuw rapport van de Verenigde Naties neemt een controversieel standpunt in betreft synthetische pesticiden. De gangbare wijsheid is dat ze essentieel zijn om de groeiende wereldbevolking te voeden, die verwacht wordt in 2050 de negen miljard te bereiken. Maar de auteurs van het rapport noemen ons leunen op synthetische pesticiden ‘een kortetermijnoplossing die het recht op een adequate voeding en gezondheid voor huidige en toekomstige generaties ondermijnt.’ Ze hebben het bij het rechte eind.

Als wetenschapper uit Nigeria wier werk zich concentreert op het beperken van derving na de oogst heb ik van dichtbij meegemaakt wat er gebeurt wanneer het gebruik van pesticiden niet goed word gereguleerd. Toch volgt een groot gedeelte van de wereld nog steeds de gangbare wijsheid, met funeste gevolgen voor de volksgezondheid.

De Verenigde Staten lijken op het punt te staan om hun al uitgebreide gebruik van pesticiden verder op te voeren. Afgelopen maand werd de naam van voormalig procureur-generaal van Oklahoma Scott Pruitt als nieuwe directeur van het Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) bevestigd. Pruitt, die de EPA in zijn vorige baan vele malen voor de rechter daagde, lijkt van zins om zwaar in de begroting te snijden en een groot gedeelte van de regulering die essentieel is voor een gegarandeerde voedselveiligheid te ontmantelen, inclusief die voor pesticiden.

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