Pesticide in Davao City rivers

Chair of City Council environment committee wants thorough probe

Davao City Councilor Leonardo Avila wants a closer probe on allegations by a non-government organization that the city watershed areas have been contaminated by pesticides from banana, pineapple, flower and agricultural plantations.

The Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) said its 2006-2007 study in the Panigan-Tamugan and Lipadas-Talomo watersheds, the primary source of the city’s drinking water, showed massive contamination of deadly pesticides including those belonging to the Dirty Dozen, twelve kinds of synthetic chemicals banned years ago.

The watershed areas in the city’s third district is also home to banana and pineapple plantations, tagged by IDIS as a primary source of pesticide contamination in rivers and land surface as shown b water samplings taken during a 14 month period.

Avila said the study should not be taken for granted having bared an alleged threat to the city water sources.

The Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority however said the study was not validated by a competent analytical agency, as shown by records at the Bureau of Plant Industry Analytical Laboratory, which IDIS said was asked to analyze the samples, but which has not released any findings.

With the BPI laboratory denial, IDIS’ credibility and motive is placed anew on the spot. IDIS is the lead lobbyist against aerial spraying of fungicides in the export Cavendis banana farms in Davao City, where an ordinance was passed banning the practice that the banana industry said would kill Davao Region’s primary industry that brings in revenues of more than $400 million annually.

The Court of Appeals in Cagayan de Oro has issued a restraining order against the ordinance on a case filed by the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA), the umbrella group of Davao Region banana growers.

IDIS elements had “awarded” the Appeals justices early this year with rotten bananas delivered to their offices, after the CA raised doubts on the constitutionality of the ordinance by issuing the TRO sought by BGEA.

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