PRESENCE OF DANGEROUS PESTICIDES IN TEA
Leading national and international brands of tea contain pesticides, which are considered highly and moderately hazardous by the World Health Organisation, a report released by Greenpeace India Monday said.
The report also reveals presence of other pesticides which have not been approved for use on tea crops in India.
“Indian tea is a national pride and it should not be the one linked to toxic chemicals with serious environmental and health risks. All stakeholders in the tea industry should come forward and take steps to safeguard the reputation of our national drink,” Neha Saigal, senior campaigner, Greenpeace India said.
Between June 2013 and May 2014, Greenpeace India tested samples of 49 branded packaged teas from eight of the top 11 companies that dominate the branded tea market in India and which also export to countries like Russia, the UK, the US, the UAE and Iran.
The statement said: “A large number of the samples tested positive for a cocktail of toxic pesticides. DDT was present in almost 67 percent of the tea samples even though it is no longer registered for use in agriculture in India and was banned in such applications as long ago as 1989.”
“The study results indicate that the tea sector is caught in a pesticide treadmill and the only way out is ecological farming. Greenpeace India is calling on tea companies to support this change. All the companies named in our report have been contacted and we have been interacting with them over the last several months.
“The copies of the test results were also shared. We also requested the companies to adopt a time-bound roadmap starting with pilots to phase out pesticides in their supply chains and replace them with ecological agriculture methods, such as Non-Pesticidal Management (NPM),” the statement added.
The statement claimed that most of the companies have responded to Greenpeace India, including the two market leaders.
“We urge all tea companies to take steps to move the tea sector away from this pesticide treadmill and clean our chai from crop to cup. The tea companies need to support adoption of ecological agriculture approaches like NPM for the sustained growth of the industry as well as safety of the consumers. NPM is already being practiced successfully in the country; it is both economically and ecologically viable,” Saigal added.