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 .
The controversy for using the ‘endosulfan’ started emerging since the 1990s . People residing in the villages near or within the plantation have felt that they are affected by different kinds of illnesses.
Villagers also observed that unique kinds of illness have started emerging among human and animals which was never seen before. Rumors have started that the aerial spraying of endosulfan on cashew plantations is main cause of abnormal cases of many alignments for example; cancer, skin disease, congenital deformities, sterility and other illnesses . The side-effects of pesticide spray in cashew plantations are not restricted only in that district rather it was spread into the neighboring districts Karnataka, adjacent to Kasaragod .
As time passed, local activist groups convinced that the illness was being caused by ‘endosulfan’ - a very old off-patent pesticide of the organochlorine class . Environmentalists as well as the various groups formed Anti-Endosulfan Committee to form a pressure group to ban Endosulphan. According to an estimate by Anti-Endosulfan Committee about 8,000-9,000 persons in Kasaragod district are affected due to the spraying of endosulfan in the cashew plantations. About 500 persons have lost their lives over the past decade owing to various diseases triggered by the large-scale use of pesticides in the district .
The matter is highly controversial one and according to some reports what really happened in Kasargod is not very clear. Some studies tried to correlate the occurrence of illness due to the endosulphan poisoning and other claim that the disease occurrence is normal and cannot be correlated with the spraying as endosulphan decay fast in warm Indian climate. These kinds of illness may not be due to Endosulphan alone .
UPDATE. There is an update to this case (while the origins of
the case are reported in full in Sunita Narain’s book of 2017). On 31
January 2018, The Hindu reported, that
a leading social activist, Daya Bai,
said that the Kerala government was ignoring the sufferings of mothers and
children. This was when the victims of indiscriminate spraying of the pesticide
Endosulfan in Kasaragod district staged an agitation in January 2018, demanding
that the State government implement the Supreme Court order issued in January
2017 to disburse ₹5 lakh (less than 10,000 USD) as compensation to victims on the “official list” within three