DPM Anutin calls on National Hazardous Substances Committee to vote openly

Anutin Charnvirakul, the leader of the Bhumjaithai party gestures during an interview with Reuters in Bangkok, Thailand, November 22, 2017. Picture taken November 22, 2017. REUTERS/Panu Wongcha-um

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul today (Wednesday) called on the National Hazardous Substances Committee to vote openly over the ban or restriction on the use of paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos at its forthcoming meeting.

Mr. Anutin today held a video conference with the directors of all provincial hospitals, department heads and senior health officials who have all taken a common stand to demand the complete ban of the three toxic farm chemicals as of December 1st this year.

Professor Dr. Thirawat Hemachutha, head of the Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases, said he hopes the NHSC will have regard for the safety of 66 million Thais and will ban the controversial herbicides.

Meanwhile, Thai PBS reporters visited several shops selling the three toxic substances and found that their sale has increased as several farmers begin stockpiling the chemicals out of fear that they will be banned without affordable alternatives being available.

The prices of the three weed killers have fallen as shops try to offload their inventories for fear that they will be left with them once the ban becomes effective.

A farmer in Sai Noi district of Nonthaburi, Sombat Laksanavilai, told Thai PBS that farmers should be given some time to make adjustments.  He said he hopes there will be affordable alternatives, because they do not have the money to hire labourers to get rid of the weeds at 300 baht minimum wage per person per day.

Another farmer, Chan Puangnark, said he was ready to stop using paraquat and glyphosate if there are effective and affordable alternatives.

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