Under the Stockholm Convention on POPs (persistent organic pollutants), pressure not to use DDT from UNEP (EN Environment Program) has driven the Southern African Development Community to announce its plan to produce DDT locally, the organization Africa Fighting Malaria informs.

The Southern African Development Community, also known as SADC, has made its intentions public just before the meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Stockholm Convention. Regional malaria control will be enhanced when DDT is produced locally. Africa Fighting Malaria (AFM) says the move will save many lives. However, UNEP and several environmental movement groups are set on banning DDT.

Richard Tren, Executive Director of Africa Fighting Malaria, said:

“Publicly available documents as well as leaked emails show senior officials of UNEP pressuring countries to stop using and producing DDT. This is in direct violation of the letter of the Stockholm Convention, which allows countries to use DDT in disease control should they wish to, within the guidelines set by the World Health Organization.”

India is the only nation currently producing DDT locally for malaria control. It is being charged to set a date to curtail production by Mr. Paul Whylie, a UNEP officer.

UNEP has arbitrarily set a deadline date of 2020 when all DDT production will be stopped. However, the Convention guarantees countries the right to continue using DDT until alternatives that are “affordable, effective and safe” are found – this has not yet occurred.

Amir Attaran, the Canada Research Chair and Professor of Law and Medicine at the University of Ottawa, said:

“UNEP’s attempt to force countries off making or using DDT flagrantly violates international law, and if successful definitely will kill people, mostly children who are most susceptible to malaria.”

Professor Donald Roberts, tropical public health specialist, said:

“DDT is not only the most effective, affordable insecticide for use in indoor spraying in malaria control, but as a recent World Health Organization review concluded, there is no evidence showing its use in malaria control harms humans. Extremists like the Pesticide Action Network have been untruthful in calling DDT dangerous to humans, when actually WHO wrote that ‘evidence to date does not point to concern about levels of exposure’.”

Africa Fighting Malaria claims UNEP is not working within the authority of the UN (United Nations). A recent African Heads of State meeting, attended by UN Secretary Generl Ban-Ki Moon, endorsed the targeted use of DDT indoor spraying for malaria control in the African continent – it is extremely effective in reducing rates of death and illness.

SADC letter to UNEP saying it is going to produce DDT locally

Source: Africa Fighting Malaria

Written by Christian Nordqvist