Greenpeace urges DA and PCA to stop promoting pesticide use against cocolisap

Press release - June 26, 2014
Manila, Philippines, 26 June 2014 – Greenpeace today urged the Department of Agriculture and Philippine Coconut Authority to stop using neonicotinoids to combat coconut scale insects (CSI) or “cocolisap” plaguing our coconut plantations. The group’s recommendation comes right on the heels of a newly released report [1] by the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which confirmed the harmful impact of pesticides, particularly neonicotinoids and fipronil (neonics), now threatening the world’s biodvidersity and ecosystems.

The report, known as the Worldwide Integrated Assessment (WIA), revealed how bees and wild pollinators are not the only species affected by neonicotinoids and systemic pesticides. Other beneficial animals like aquatic insects, earthworms and even birds are also impacted as they are exposed to deadly pesticides via multiple pathways, including through the plant itself, air (dust from spraying) and even more importantly soil and water. In fact, neonicotinoid pesticides have been proven to impair many essential ecological functions. 

“The findings of the WIA are gravely worrying, especially in light of the active promotion of  neonicotinoids by the PCA and the DA to address cocolisap,” said Daniel Ocampo, Greenpeace Philippines Campaigner for Sustainable Agriculture and Genetic Engineering. “Maybe instead of solving cocolisap, we are inviting more problems with the poisoning of our environment,” he added. 

Neonics [2] have become the most widely used group of insecticides globally, with a global market share now estimated at around 40% and sales of over US $2.63 billion in 2011. They are also commonly used in domestic treatments to prevent fleas in cats and dogs and termites in wood structures. 

Greenpeace notes that as early as March 2012 [3], the PCA already started measures to control the cocolisap using mechanical measures and also the spraying of water with detergent and using biological control.  They even advised caution over the use of chemical pesticides as these will have impact on natural enemies of coconut scale insects and other pests [4]. However, the recent advice coming from PCA baffles supporters of organic and ecological agriculture who support the use of diversity, biological control and other non-chemical based methods to control crop pests. 

Since Europe has already banned some of the neonics due to the collapse of the bee population in the region, Greenpeace expects that the agrochemical industry will push these toxic pesticides in Asia.  

As a response to the findings, the Governor of the Province of Marinduque, Carmencita O. Reyes, has banned the use and sale of neonics in order to protect the area’s important butterfly populations [5]. 

“We must get out of the pesticide treadmill and start working alongside nature instead of against it.  There are existing solutions [6] tococolisap which does not necessitate the use of deadly neonics,” Ocampo added. 

 

NOTES TO THE EDITOR:

[1] http://tfsp.hifrontier.com/

[2] Neonics are a nerve poison and the effects of exposure range from instant and lethal to chronic.  Even long term exposure at low (non-lethal) levels can be harmful. Chronic damage can include: impaired sense of smell or memory; reduced fecundity; altered feeding behavior and reduced food intake including reduced foraging in bees; altered tunnelling behavior in earthworms; difficulty in flight and increased susceptibility to disease. 

[3] http://www.pca.da.gov.ph/pr031912.php

[4] http://www.pca.da.gov.ph/pr102312.php

[5] Governor Carmencita Reyes’ statement on video can be found at http://tfsp.hifrontier.com/  (10:12 )

[6] CSI can be addressed through cultural control where infestation from new areas can be eradicated by destroying infested plants and plant parts; and through biological control where in the pest population is controlled by introducing natural enemies. See http://www.spc.int/lrd/publications/doc_download/942-ph-pal-38-csi


For more information:

Daniel Ocampo                                                                                      
Campaigner for Sustainable Agriculture and Genetic Engineering                      
Greenpeace Philippines                                                              
Mobile No. 0917-8110469                                                                   Email:                                                               

 

Virginia Benosa-Llorin
Media Campaigner
Greenpeace PhilippinesGreenpeace 
Mobile No. 0917-8228793 
Email:  

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