Glyphosate unearthed | Daily News


Glyphosate unearthed

Glyphosate is a good non-selective plant killer, but then, so are many other herbicides. All of them kill both the crops and the weeds. The specialty of glyphosate and its very extensive use is only in relation to its use on genetically modified “Roundup Ready” crops that are so engineered not to die of glyphosate sprayed indiscriminately over farmland by airplane, helicopter and massive crop sprayers. Another dangerous use of more recent origin is to use glyphosate as a desiccant even on non-GMO seed, and cereal crops, cotton and sugarcane – purely for convenience of harvesting.

Due regard was shown towards the petition with over two million signatures urging the EU not to extend the license to use glyphosate in the EU and to the survey that indicated that two-thirds of the population in the EU wanted glyphosate banned. Also, France which had promoted a ban had, after the change of government, covertly opposed the ban close to the deadline date of June 30, 2016. EU regulatory agencies too were criticized for bias in favour of glyphosate based on dubious research and conclusions.

In this confusing situation EU Health Commissioner granted an 18 month extension of the license advising that a firm decision should be reached by then.

Determination of a Tribunal in The Hague, The Netherlands

A panel of five international judges set up as a Tribunal to ponder on complaints against Roundup and Monsanto delivered their legal opinion on April 17 this year. The judges conclude that;

1. Monsanto has engaged in practices that have impinged on the basic human right to a healthy environment, the right to food and the right to health.

2. Monsanto's conduct has a negative impact on the right of scientists to freely conduct indispensable research.

3. Despite the development of regulations intended to protect the environment, a gap remains between commitments and the reality of environmental protection. International law should now precisely and clearly assert the protection of the environment and establish the crime of ecocide. The Tribunal concludes that if ecocide were formally recognized as a crime in international criminal law, the activities of Monsanto could possibly constitute a crime of ecocide.

4. There is a need to assert the primacy of international human and environmental rights law. A set of legal rules is in place to protect investors’ rights in the frame of the World Trade Organisation and in b ilateral investment treaties and in clauses in free-trade agreements. These provisions tend to undermine the capacity of nations to maintain policies, laws and practices protecting human and environmental rights. United Nations bodies urgently need to take action; otherwise key questions of human and environmental rights violations will be resolved by private tribunals operating entirely outside the United Nations framework.

5. Non-state actors must be held responsible within international human rights law. Multinational enterprises should be recognized as responsible actors and should be subjected to the International Criminal Court jurisdiction in case of infringement of fundamental rights. The Tribunal clearly identifies and denounces a severe disparity between the rights of multinational corporations and their obligations. Therefore, the advisory opinion encourages authoritative bodies to protect the effectiveness of international human rights and environmental law against the conduct of multinational corporations.

These conclusions open the door for the filing of damages suits against manufacturers and users. It has already started in California against oil companies - that they promoted their businesses and products while knowingly, and deliberately covering up the dangers of pollution and predicted dangers of climate change. Monsanto too stands exposed to such claims by farmers who are now dying of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma after using glyphosate for over 20 years in their farms. The Company’s history is worse than dismal. They have exposed the world to DDT, BPA, Lasso, Strychnine, Aspartame, Agent Orange, Dioxin, genetically modified seeds and one or two more products in addition to glyphosate.

All these products have raised very serious health hazard controversies and consumer opposition. Many were banned. All were strongly promoted as safe.

Our administrators must be ignorant of the fact that a small Irish company has introduced in Austria their own herbicide under the name of Roundup with the permission of Monsanto, but with a different active ingredient replacing glyphosate. And that active ingredient? Nothing but the good old traditional weed killer – Vinegar!

If vinegar is too expensive, acetic acid can be used since it could be much cheaper as it is imported in bulk for the rubber industry. Vinegar and a 5%-10% acetic acid solution in water are almost the same in acid strength.

Another possible weed killer is kerosene. Another possibility is a blow torch fitted with a long handle to enable a standing worker to apply the flame on the weeds at ground level.

Please note that all these methods kill soil bacteria, but not as badly as Roundup does. If you want healthy plants and good harvests, you must have healthy soil. Healthy soils have phosphorus and nitrogen produced in plant absorbable forms and quantities by soil bacteria.

People have to tackle this problem of the pros and cons of glyphosate through the application of the Precautionary Principle. The Precautionary Principle is a strategy to cope with possible risks where scientific understanding is yet incomplete, such as the risks of nano technology, genetically modified organisms and systemic insecticides. Though here it is couched in high-faluting language, it is a simple and natural reaction or act of all living beings.

When you see danger you take precautions. It is a natural automatic or common-sense reaction. You do not ask for scientific proof.

Take precautions

If you throw up after eating spoiled food, you put an immediate stop to eating that food. You do not want proof that the food is spoilt. You know it made you sick. That is sufficient for you.

Take a look at the current dengue epidemic. You see mosquitoes in your garden. Do you try to get proof that they are dengue virus carriers? No. You just eliminate them.

You get dengue. You are not aware of a mosquito bite.

Then how can you say your illness is due to a mosquito? And to which particular mosquito? Do you demand proof that it carried the virus? No to all. You take the precaution of getting treatment for the important need of saving your life.

That is what is urged with glyphosate formulations too. Take precautions. Use it only after its use is proved to be reasonably safe. Current minimum safety levels are fictitious. The MSL in the USA is SEVEN times that in the EU. Can this be so if the MSLs are based on research? Shams like this provoke people to protest. There has been too much humbugging with glyphosate.

Re-use will not happen. Glyphosate is a slow, insidious and inevitable killer. It kills the crucial bacteria in our gut.

It chelates with crucial trace nutrient elements taken in from our food, as well as with metal nuclei of the enzymes in our body. In doing so it impedes growth and normal metabolic processes causing nutrient and trace metal deficiencies, cell damage, cell mutation, organ collapse and so on – all leading to serious illness and finally death.

There is no preventive treatment, let alone a cure, so far. In this light, Monsanto’s claim of safety is a total lie. 

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