Spain is the European Union country that most pesticides used in 2020, with 75,774 tons that cause “serious” damage to the health of people, ecosystems and the loss of biodiversity, according to ‘The Atlas of pesticides’ presented by Friends of the Earth, together with the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Foundation of Germany and the European Network against pesticides.
The person in charge of Food Sovereignty of Friends of the Earth Andrés Muñoz Rico explained that according to the text, the use of these chemicals has increased by 80% worldwide since 1990with a use that in 2020 represented 468,431 tons in Europe, in Latin America (770,393), in Asia (658,529), in North America (486,732), in Africa (105,757), in Central America (90,163) and in Oceania ( 70,421).
In addition, he pointed out that it is a booming global business, with the United Kingdom as the largest exporter, with 32,187 tons, followed by Germany, with 8,078, and Spain, with 5,182.
Brazil is the main country receiving pesticides, with 10,008 tons, followed by Ukraine (6,003) and South Africa (1,702).
Profits from the pesticide divisions of the four largest of these chemical companies They accounted for Syngenta 9,900 million dollars, Bayer (9,800), Corteva (5,700) and BASF (5,500).
Among the best-selling toxic substances are glyphosate “probably carcinogenic”, according to the WHO, from Bayer-Monsanto ($841,000,000); Thiamethoxam, which is banned in the EU due to its toxicity to bees (242,000,000), glufosinate, with adverse effects on sexual functions and fertility, according to the European Agency for Chemical Substances and Mixtures (227,000,000).
According to Munoz Rico, chemical products have estimated health costs of 132,000 million euros in Europewith an impact on the endocrine system mainly, but also with neurological impacts, on obesity and diabetes and reproductive disorders.
And he recalled that the maximum concentrations allowed in glyphosate water in Europe is 0.1 micrograms per liter, while in Brazil 500 micrograms per liter is allowed.
Marta García Pallarés, coordinator of the Campaign No to Trade and Investment Treaties of Ecologistas en Acción, explained that This situation will worsen with the signing of the EU-Mercosur free trade agreement (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay).
In fact, he stressed, the “European Commission and European governments sell it as the best recipe for economic recovery after the pandemic”, however, this treaty will only “increase deforestation or loss of biodiversity, thanks to neoliberal policies.”
Once again, he said, “Latin America is relegated to the export of raw materials and resources to strengthen the industrial sectors in the EU”, and the only thing that will be achieved will be social, environmental and economic “imbalances”.
Furthermore, according to the expert, the reduction of 90% of tariffs on pesticides in Mercosur is contemplated, which will mean “an increase in the use of these agrochemicals to increase production of soybeans, sugar, corn or rice, or beef, which depends on soybeans and pesticides” and the “only beneficiaries will be the large producers of pesticides.
Lucía Ortiz, president of Friends of the Earth Brazil and a member of Friends of the Earth International, Latin America and Central America, explained that a series of organizations have been formed that oppose the signing of the EU-Mercosur treaty because it will cause more harm than benefits for all in South American countries.
One death every two days in Brazil
Have you remembered that you They are using pesticides that are sprayed and cause one death every two days from these chemicals in Brazil, most of whom are under 19 years of age.
According to Ortiz, many of these products are new and given the deficient health services in the country, doctors cannot detect their presenceso “there are no diagnoses for people, especially children.”
León Fernández, an agronomist and organic producer from Huertos Vega del Tajuña (Madrid), has pointed out that “the university is linked to agribusiness”and in the four degrees of the School of Agronomists of the Polytechnic University of Madrid, “there is only one subject of organic agriculture that is optional”, a situation that causes “the flight of students concerned about the environment”.
Full report ‘Atlas of pesticides in Europe’: https://www.tierra.org//wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Atlas-pesticidas-Amigos-Tierra.pdf
Contact of the Environment section: [email protected]