PENANG, Malaysia – Today, on Universal Children’s Day, PAN Asia Pacific (PANAP) together with partners continue to demand a safer world for children.
Last year a call for pesticide-free buffer zones to put our children out of pesticides harm’s way have been initiated.
A petition has been put up to call on governments to implement the buffer zones around school’s nearby farms, plantations and crop fields to help protect children from pesticide drift.
This was to further uphold the rights of children to health and development as outlined in UN’s Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Children’s rights are being violated by the persistent use of pesticides. The toxic chemicals can be found almost everywhere in the environment that the children come in contact with – the air they breathe, the food they eat and the water they drink.
The harmful impacts of pesticides to the development of a child cannot be stressed enough. From learning disorders, to various developmental disorders and life-threatening cancers, pesticides have caused harm to children in many different ways.
Therefore, the call for buffer zones serves as an important measure to safeguard the health and wellbeing of children.
“Our efforts have been reinforced by the joint report of two UN Special Rapporteur’s which stated the need for a buffer-zone around schools and to replace chemicals like pesticides with biology for a better environment for our children’s future,” said Deeppa Ravindran, PANAP’s Pesticide Programme Coordinator.
Meanwhile, the group also criticized the big six agro-chem giants for continuing the production, sales and trade of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) despite the public’s growing clamor to ban HHPs due to its threatening effects to health, environment and children’s welfare.
In fact, the availability of HHPs in the market has revealed the growing number of affected children.
One of PANAP’s newest initiative POC Watch aims to monitor these cases to give a glimpse of the worsening state of children’s health and violation of children’s rights. Based on recent monitoring, over 1,000 children have been harmed by pesticides of which 44 have lost their lives over the course of five years since 2013.
Ravindran added, “It is important that we drive the number of signatories to make our call for buffer zones and creating safer spaces for our children be heard by authorities.”
To heighten the fight versus HHPs, the group and its partners will also gear up for the No Pesticides Use Week on 3-10 December.
Kindly sign the petition at https://www.change.org/p/urge-the-state-governments-to-institute-pesticide-free-buffer-zones-around-schools.
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For more information: Deeppa Ravindran, PANAP’s Pesticide Programme Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org.