From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Glyphosate and its hazards
Mains level : Read the attached story
- Monsanto (the company Bayer acquired in 2018) produces the glyphosate based herbicides which allegedly has cancer risks.
Glyphosate based herbicides
- The herbicides are based on a compound called glyphosate.
- First developed in 1970, glyphosate is scientifically N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine under the IUPAC system of nomenclature.
- It is applied to the leaves of plants to kill weeds. It is widely used in India, too.
Usage in India
- According to a 2016 bulletin published by the ICAR the weedkiller in India goes by various brand names, including Roundup, Glycel, and Brake.
- Glyphosate was highly accepted by the tea planters in the past two decades. It has a very good market size in the tea sector of West Bengal and Assam.
- Presently, the consumption of glyphosate is highest in Maharashtra as it is becoming a key herbicide in sugarcane, maize and many fruit crops including mango, banana, grapes, pomegranate and citrus.
- France, Italy, and Vietnam banned the herbicide’s use after the WHO finding.
Issues over Glyphosate
- In 2015, the WHO study found that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans”.
- Since then activists have been campaigning against glyphosate-based products.
- The herbicide is needed for agriculture and is used in many countries, including the US, China, Brazil and Canada.
- The harmful effects on human health are yet to be established as the WHO has not issued any advisory.