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Crackdown on illegal sale of overused pesticide

By Hou Liqiang  (China Daily)

08:44, May 06, 2013

Weifang is concerned about the use of a highly toxic pesticide on ginger, shown here. Wang Zhide / for China Daily

The local government of Weifang, a city in central Shandong province, is planning to crack down on Aldicarb, a highly toxic pesticide.

The illegal sale and use of the pesticide was exposed by China Central Television.

Aldicarb is one of the most poisonous pesticides used in China. According to the Ministry of Agriculture regulations, it can be used only for five plants under serious restrictions.

However, CCTV discovered that Aldicarb is being overused three to six times of the standard for an unlisted plant, ginger, although farmers are clear about the toxicity.

"We don't use it for the ginger we eat ourselves," a female farmer told CCTV.

The news aroused widespread attention on the Internet. People expressed concerns about the safety of ginger and the pollution of soil and underground water.

However, Sun Shubao, president of China Crop Protection Industry Association, said he does not think the situation is that bad.

"Pesticides with effects that can last for more than one season have been banned," he said. "The effect of Aldicarb on soil and underground water won't be that big. It will be resolved by microorganisms.

"It has been used in Weifang for a long time, according to local farmers. If the effect of it on the human body is so big, it should have shown up. There is pesticide abuse in other parts of China as well. The problem is we don't have regulations on the use of pesticides. We don't have punitive measures for that."

The Weifang government said on Sunday it has started to confiscate illegal sales of Aldicarb and destroy all ginger planted with Aldicarb. A pesticide store was closed and its manager was detained.

A working team has also been sent to Weifang by the provincial government.

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