Series of peoples' dialogues on POPs and the environmental health crisis in the cotton belt of the Malwa region in Punjab, India.
This report addresses the harmful health affects associated with use and exposure to POPs. Punjab is one of the highest pesticide consumers in India. In addition, farmers in Punjab customarily burn paddy and wheat after harvest, leading to large amounts of dioxin and furan emissions. Despite increased cancer rates, many farmers are reluctant to switch to pesticide-free agriculture. To address this, Kheti Virasat Mission took up a participatory environmental education, mobilization and awareness campaign in six districts of the cotton belt to locate partners and volunteers for the campaign. Five peoples' dialogues on POPs were organized, along with 40 village-level meetings, highlighting harmful effects of POPs. Groups of volunteers and organic farmers were formed, encouraging farmers toward safer alternatives such as organic farming. The campaign-targeted at farmers, rural youth, eco-clubs, civil society, unions, women groups, organic produce enterprises, medics, University faculty, theatre groups, practicing organic farmers, journalists and agro experts-was deemed a success, gaining attention of media, lawyers, civil society and the pesticide industry.
Increased POPs awareness among farmers and stakeholders in the cotton belt
Peoples' dialogues created to further impact
Mobilization of farmers and volunteers to promote organic farming and safer alternatives