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Use of Endosulphan in Kasaragod distric, Kerala, India

Kasargod District is famous for its cashew plantations. The Plantation Corporation of Kerala, a state enterprise, cultivates vast areas. To protect this crop, the pesticide endosulfan was used with heavy damage to human health.


Kasargod District is located in the southern part of India in Kerala State. This district is famous for its cashew plantation. Plantation Corporation of Kerala, a state government enterprise has cultivated cashew plant in the vast areas of this district. To protect this crop since the mid 1970s, the pesticide endosulfan has been widely used and aerially sprayed on cashew nut plantation covering several villages in the district [1].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Use of Endosulphan in Kasaragod distric, Kerala, India
State or province:Kerala
Location of conflict:District -Kasaragod
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Agro-toxics
Specific commodities:Chemical products
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Kasaragod Estate is located in Kasaragod District in Kerala. The estate is spread over 2190 Ha. It is famous for Cashew Plantation with high yielding varieties and are being scientifically managed [5]. The estate has 113 workers, 18 staff and 6 officer as employees. Endosulfan was sprayed in Kerala, on two days each year on cashew plantations from a helicopter. The formulation that was sprayed contained about 0.05-0.1 per cent of endosulfan [2]. Endosulfan is considered as Persistent organic Pollutant (PoP) in ‘Stockholm Convention’ held in Geneva on 29th April, 2011.

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Project area:4,696
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1976
Company names or state enterprises:The Plantation Corporation of Kerala Ltd from India
Relevant government actors:Government of Kerala
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Anti-Endosulfan Committee, Democratic Youth Federation of India (Kerala wing), Endosulfan Apamaana Vimochana Samiti, Endosulfan-affected Peoples' Front, Pesticide Action Network, Thanal campaigning, Endosulfan Peeditha Janakeeya Munnani
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Hunger strikes and self immolation
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Potential: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Genetic contamination, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Deaths, Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Institutional changes
Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Under negotiation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Withdrawal of company/investment
Proposal and development of alternatives:Anti-endosulfan activists protest to compensate the victims and also a total ban on the pesticide. They organized protest demonstration, strikes, and other means to lodge their demands for an end to the spraying of endosulfan in Kasaragod district. They are demanding an immediate intervention to ensure a complete stoppage of pesticide usage and advocate for the organic farming [3] [4].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:A global ban on endosulfan was imposed in Stockholm Convention in Geneva is mainly promoted by the incidences in Karsagod. Environmental groups such as Pesticide Action Network and Thanal has campaigned globally with horror-inducing pictures of the endosulphan effect on the human lives and environment [2]
Kerala Government frequently assured medical as well as financial helps for the victims but that promises had not been kept so far. The National Human Rights Commission's direction in 2010 to the central and state governments to take urgent steps to arrange treatment facilities and adequate financial assistance to Endosulfan victims was also not heeded to, he said [3]. The Anti-Endosulfan committee is demanding good compensation amounts for the families of each of those who died, and a family pension for the victims' families [4].
According to some opinion ‘Endosulfan issue is more of a political debate than a scientific one’. Many people got compensation due to diseases are not related to endosulfan. In January 2012, The Guardian published an article claiming that the data regarding the Kasaragod is an exaggeration [2]. Proper investigation by an independent agency with the association and causation of endosulphan use and the health impact was urgently required.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Biological Diversity Act, 2002
[click to view]

The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
[click to view]

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
[click to view]

The air (prevention and control of pollution) act, 1981
[click to view]

The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Down to Earth Report 2
[click to view]

Endosulfan Poisoning and the Struggle of the community in Kasaragod to regain life and the living land
[click to view]

Down to Earth Report
[click to view]

[click to view]

A critique of the epidemiological studies on health in allegedly endosulfan-affected areas in Kasaragod, Kerala
[click to view]

Sunita Narain, Conflict of Interest. My Journey through India’s Green Movement, Viking, Gurgaon. 2017

[1] Story of Kasaragod
[click to view]

[2] Kerala’s Endosulfan Tragedy
[click to view]

[3] Anti-endosulfan stir enters a new phase
[click to view]

[4] Kerala endosulfan victims allege 'state terrorism'
[click to view]

[5]The Plantation Corporation of Kerala Ltd
[click to view]

Government of INDIA recommended use of Endosulfan and available alternatives
[click to view]

Popular Articles About Endosulfan
[click to view]

The Hindu, Endosulfan victims in the warpath, 31 Jan 2018.
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Endosulfan victim in Kasargod
[click to view]

Ban endosulfan sdpi kasaragod rally
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra, JNU University
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1419
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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