WE cannot and must not allow Zambia to be used as a dumping ground for dangerous chemicals such as DDT, says William Harrington.
The former environmental minister says there is “urgent need” to clarify media reports that it has imported hundreds of tonnes of the banned insecticide.
“As this is International Breast Cancer month, I have deemed it necessary and expedient to challenge the Patriotic Front government to clarify recent media reports that it has ‘secretly’ imported over 300 tonnes of organochlorine DDT [Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane] from a named India-based manufacturing company for the ongoing malaria control programme. The company is a sole manufacturer of DDT internationally,” Harrington said.
He said the matter was of great concern because DDT was a globally banned insecticide that scientists had found to cause breast cancer and also reduces sperm quality in men.
“As correctly stated in a recent media story, DDT manufacture and use has been banned for over two decades under the Stockholm Convention, to which Zambia is a state party, because of scientifically proven danger to human health and the environment generally,” said Harrington. “My research also confirms that DDT has not been in use in Zambia since 2010 for the aforementioned reasons. It is therefore worrying that this harmful chemical can be used today as alleged. The urgent need for government to clarify on this matter in the public and national interest cannot be over-emphasized.”