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
NameUse of Endosulphan in Kasaragod distric, Kerala, India
SiteDistrict -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 CommoditiesPesticides
Chemical products
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsKasaragod 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.

A study by Centre for Science and Environment in 2001 in the area after the spraying was stopped also found the presence of endosulfan in humans, water bodies and soil.

The government estimates 710 people had died due to ill effects of aerial spraying of Endosulfan in cashew plantations in 4,696 hectares in the northern district from 1976 to 2000. However, the activists estimated that the death perhaps is much more. In another claim children are being born even now with genetic defects [4].
Project Area (in hectares)4,696
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date1976
Company Names or State EnterprisesThe Plantation Corporation of Kerala Ltd from India
Relevant government actorsGovernment of Kerala
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAnti-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
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
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-economic 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
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Negotiated alternative solution
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Strengthening of participation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Under negotiation
Institutional changes
Withdrawal of company/investment
Development of AlternativesAnti-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 as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.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 and Materials

The air (prevention and control of pollution) act, 1981
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The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
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The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
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Biological Diversity Act, 2002
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Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
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Endosulfan Poisoning and the Struggle of the community in Kasaragod to regain life and the living land
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A critique of the epidemiological studies on health in allegedly endosulfan-affected areas in Kasaragod, Kerala
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Down to Earth Report 2
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Down to Earth Report
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Sunita Narain, Conflict of Interest. My Journey through India’s Green Movement, Viking, Gurgaon. 2017


[5]The Plantation Corporation of Kerala Ltd
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[2] Kerala’s Endosulfan Tragedy
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[3] Anti-endosulfan stir enters a new phase
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[4] Kerala endosulfan victims allege 'state terrorism'
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Popular Articles About Endosulfan
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[1] Story of Kasaragod
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Government of INDIA recommended use of Endosulfan and available alternatives
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The Hindu, Endosulfan victims in the warpath, 31 Jan 2018.
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Media Links

Ban endosulfan sdpi kasaragod rally
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Endosulfan victim in Kasargod
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Other Documents

Source: The Hindu 31 March 2018, S. Gomakumar.
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Meta Information
ContributorSwapan Kumar Patra, JNU University
Last update30/03/2018