While there are many environmental and health benefits to using organic pesticides as opposed to synthetic chemicals, agricultural officials are still encouraging farmers and consumers to ensure that all the necessary safety procedures are followed.
This advice has come from Officer-in-charge of the Plant Protection Unit, Ministry of Agriculture, Michael James, who pointed out that while organic pesticides may offer a safer alternative to chemicals, persons should check their labels and wear the requisite protective gear when using such agents. “For all intents are purposes, they are still pesticides because they are inhibiting or stopping the growth or killing of a particular pest. So, you still have to be careful. Because it is organic doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read the label or not put on proper protective equipment because you may be allergic to something that may be in it,” he explained.
James was speaking ahead Pesticides Awareness Week, which started yesterday and ends on Friday. The theme is Protecting Health and the Environment through Pesticides Container Management, and during the week there will be a series of community outreach activities aimed at highlighting the importance of the proper storage, use and disposal of pesticide containers. Pesticides Day is Thursday, September 27.
He pointed out that protective gear included long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, gloves, a respirator or mask and boots.
“People need to remember that pesticides are dangerous if not used properly and you should be careful with them. Use them wisely and do not abuse them,” James said.
Further information on pesticides containers and their proper use and disposal may be obtained by contacting the Pesticides Control Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Graeme Hall, Christ Church. (BGIS)