The Guardian: “Corporations that sell pesticides must explain them faults abouthow they impact bee poisoning”

December 4, 2011 spagnola_18x12 italiana_18x12

the_guardian_giornaliOn December 2 the environmental blog of the famous British newspaper The Guardian published an article by Alison Benjamin, about the opening session of the Indian public trial against chemical multinationals.





manifestante per la tragedia di Bophal vestito di scheletro con foto di bambino cecoThis year is the 27th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster that killed 20,000 people in india. It will be commemorated by World No Pesticides Use Day.

 This year will also start the "public process for pesticides companies", sponsored by the permanent People's Tribunal (PPT), an international opinion tribunal that has raised awareness of cases from Eritrea to Guatemala.


The PPT will be held in Bangalore, India, with evidence against the six major pesticides companies (Monsanto, Dow, BASF, Bayer, Syngenta and DuPont ) which control 74% of global pesticides. They will be invited to defend allegations of violating human rights.

bidone con disegnata sopra un teschioThe World Bank estimates that more than 350,000 people die each year of unintentional pesticide poisoning. This means almost 1,000 people die  every day. The international Pesticide Action Network (PAN) , which is spearheading the PPT, says that up to 41 million people are suffering from adverse effects of pesticide exposure.

But not only people are killed or maimed by toxic chemical substances.
Since two decades ago when a new class of systemic pesticides called neonicotinoids appeared on the market, there has been a clear connection with the global decline in bees. Neonicotinoids deposit for a long time in plants and flowers, and can affect the insects’ nervous systems.

Bottiglia di imidaclopridIn Germany, Italy, France, and Slovenia, a Bayer-manufactured neonicotinoid, Imidacloprid, has been suspended for the treatment of maize seed. According to research showing it may contaminate the pollen that bees collect. Under laboratory conditions it has been shown to impair ipair honeybees' communication, memory and learning abilities. Beekeepers in Italy and France also blame another neonicotinoid, Thiamethoxam, which is produced by Syngenta, for killing their bees. Studies have shown how bees' flight could be adversely affected by the absorption of very low doses of this product.

In the U.S., where one third of the bees have disappeared since 2008, scientists have found Imidacloprid at levels never reported before.

croce di tomba ricoperta con uno sciame d'apiAlthough the mysterious disappearance of bees, called colony collapse disorder, is probably due to a combination of many factors, even the manager of the Bees Research Laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture believes that the exposure to pesticides – in addition to parasites and poor nutrition - is a critical factor in the decrease in their numbers.

"We call them the three Ps. If all three are present in hives then the bees will stay in critical conditions, but even the presence of only two factors could cause serious problems" said Jeff Pettis last year.
On the other hand, a memo leaked by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has revealed that another pesticide, Bayer's Clothianidin, is highly toxic to bees but the product was allowed without having been thoroughly analyzed by Bayer itself.
Seven years and we are still waiting the production of such "evidence".
In 2008, two thirds of bee colonies along the Rhine in Germany, died from dust contaminated with Clothianidin used for maize seed treatment.

opinione_pubblicaBayer and Syngenta continue to deny the evidence of a link between these toxic products and the collapse of the bee colonies.

The defendants will be invited to defend themselves.

You can follow the process from here.

The PPT, which cannot impose legal penalties, was set up in 1979 to raise awareness of human rights violations because there is no international forum empowered to hear and make judgment on cases of human rights violations brought against global corporations.

In 1996, after the PPT session on industrial hazards and human rights in Bhopal, the Charter on Industrial Hazards and Human Rights was adopted.

The opinion of journalists, and others, is that there is an overwhelming body of evidence pointing the finger at the sub-lethal impact of pesticides on bees.

Translated by Michele Valleri