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High levels of Pesticides Found in Seven Vegetables Including Gourds

At least seven types of green vegetables including yardlong beans and gourds have been destroyed and 11 others quarantined after excessive amounts of hazardous pesticides were detected in them.

Ayushi Raina
People Checking Pesticides in Vegetables
People Checking Pesticides in Vegetables

As many as seven varieties of green vegetables, including yardlong beans and gourds, were destroyed and 11 others quarantined after excessive amounts of pesticides were found in them.

According to the Department of Agriculture's Central Agriculture Laboratory, which conducts rapid bioassays of pesticide residues (RBPR), the vegetables were either destroyed or quarantined in the previous two and a half months

“Five varieties of vegetables imported from India were destroyed in Jhapa, while two types of vegetables were destroyed in Kathmandu,” Prakash Ghimire, plant protection officer and chief of the RBPR laboratory in Kalimati, said.

“Following two days of quarantining, some of the vegetables were released after the pesticide residue in them had decreased.”

Authorities have been testing fruits and vegetables for organophosphate and carbamate pesticides on a regular basis. According to officials, large amount of dangerous pesticides are utilised in cauliflower, yardlong beans, and other off season vegetables.

“If excessive amounts of pesticides are detected, we will take the control of the vegetables and will quarantine them,” Ghimire said. Tests are done on the quarantined vegetables every two days to assess the pesticide residual level, and if the residue level has decreased to an acceptable level, we return the vegetables to the market to the traders.”

Pesticides are used by farmers to protect crops against insects, weeds, fungus, and other pests.

Pesticides, according to the World Health Organization, are potentially hazardous to human health and can have both acute and chronic health impacts depending on the quantity and kind of exposure.

Testing vegetables and fruits for harmful pesticides such as organophosphate and carbamate is a routine task that the authorities have been carrying out from several labs around the country.

There are seven labs that perform fast bioassays of pesticide residue, one in each of the five provinces—1, 2, Bagmati Province, Gandaki Province, and Sudurpaschim Province, and two in Lumbini Province. According to officials, the usage of harmful pesticides, herbicides, and fertilisers has increased in Nepal in recent years.

Long-term intake of pesticide-laden vegetables and fruits, according to doctors, can result in renal failure, heart and lung diseases, mental health issues, and cancer. Such fruits and vegetables may also have an effect on pregnant women and damage fetuses.

Pesticides are frequently used to eliminate insects, fungus, weeds, and illnesses that harm plants and crops. Over 600 metric tonnes of pesticides, including insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and biopesticides, are imported into Nepal every year.

According to Plant Protection Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock Development, 681 metric tonnes of 163 different pesticides were imported in fiscal year 2019/2020.

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