I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!
Apologies if this post’s heading is troubling; I could not find any better title. I also wish to humbly inform my dear readers that I must leave certain organization’s names out so that this does not turn personal. I was not comfortable when somebody that matters in one pesticide organization told me, ‘welcome! I have heard about you and I am glad I have seen you’.
I went through a turbulent end of the week! I literally spent the Friday and Saturday struggling in my limited ways together with one remarkable conservationist heading the Kenyan office of a renowned international conservation organization, trying to get the details of recent Furadan poisoning of fish in Tanzania. I am still optimistic that I will get some details and hopefully, photos sent my way across the border (from Tanzania) of the poisoning ordeal. I should then surely avail the story on the stopwildlifepoisoning blog. At the moment, I only know that 6 gallons of liquid Furadan were poured in Kilombero River to kill fish with the fishermen warning the villagers not to use the river water for domestic purposes. This happened sometime last week.
I spent the weekend combing papers and articles on carbofuran especially Furadan 5G, the grossly alleged threat to Kenya’s wildlife. I must get certain facts right to be able to tackle the various troubling facets that challenge this stop wildlife poisoning campaign, in particular the campaign against Furadan pesticide as the poison. These have been manifested in my interactions especially with the people dealing with pesticides before it gets to the users.
It is now apparent that the discussion about Furadan is not a discussion but a sad war. It has become tough for me to get any relevant information from the pesticides fellows. It starts with word games where we have been repeatedly warned that we should talk of Furadan poisoning and not Carbofuran poisoning despite the active ingredient being carbofuran. I was recently advised for my knowledge that carbofuran is not sent nor sold in Kenya, but as far as I know, it is sold and sent to Kenya in the Furadan preparation. Nonetheless, I am going to stick to Furadan poisoning to save myself from the inconvenience of being interrupted and getting confused from the flow of my conversation that I should not mention carbofuran poisoning but Furadan poisoning. That is not the end of the war, I am disappointed when I am directed to a website where I cannot find information especially concerning a follow up on a Furadan alleged case of poisoning (Mara lion poisoning). Either the information is not there absolutely, or it is hidden behind the locks of a registration fee that is required for anyone to have full success of the information on the website. I wonder why positive counter allegation evidence to an issue that sparked terror and implicated a great need to mend holes in the pesticide regulation /manufacture fraternity would be kept hidden from the public. Many questions therefore arise as to the credibility of the findings of the follow up which was summarised as ‘there was no connection between the dead animals and carbofuran’ in the Mara.
I have also been trying to find out the carbofuran products that may have been or are still of concern in other places in the world in trying to establish if I can link it up to the Kenyan scenario. Based on a report in late 1990′s-crop-profile-of-rice-in-california.pdf- I stumbled on a profile description of Furadan 5G, the exact carbofuran product that may cost Kenya its wildlife and probably aggravate the neurotic disorders of its citizens. Various aspects of Furadan 5G are highlighted including its safety. According to the report, carbofuran was on the Food Quality Protection Act list 1 of insecticides scheduled to have their tolerances reassessed by August 1999. As a carbamate, the report revealed that the reassessment of carbofuran may result in the elimination of some uses. The product seems to have been praised for its minimal effects on non-target arthropods and fish. This is not what we are experiencing in Kenya, or are we dealing with a compound pseudo-labelled Furadan 5G when the reality is that it is a higher concentrate carbofuran product? Our Furadan 5G product even has one of the hazard labels cautioning on harm on fish. It does not make sense when it is generally stated in a communication to me that Furadan 5G is generally less toxic than the active ingredient carbofuran by 20-40 times. Fish were poisoned last week in Tanzania and birds, also fish are still being poisoned in Kenya using Furadan 5G. These have ended up and will continue ending up in East African peoples’ digestive systems, the actual effects on their health of which need the medical personnel to unveil.
I also gathered from an International POPs Elimination Project report of 2005– that spelt doom due to the hazardous state attributed to many chemical stockpiles including poor storage of which Desert Locust Control (DLCO) East Africa was sited. DLCO particularly struck me because it was reported that they had switched from mostly organchlorines which were banned due to persistence, environmental effects and bioconcentration in fatty tissues, but switched to amongst others carbamates carbaryl and propoxur. These are less hazardous to the environment but more acutely hazardous to human and animal health. When these poisons are injected into the air, they will not only just bring down the insects (starting with locusts) but also birds (directly or indirectly) and what of the humans that get in contact with the poisons or even those that might eat the birds killed in the exercise?
The poisoning saga in Kenya is terrifying, especially when the true knowledge of the deadly implications of the pesticides being used to kill vermin and wild animals is sat on squarely by the relevant authorities so that for some reason the public does not get to it. This looks bad especially when the whole situation appears to take full advantage of public ignorance and employing otherwise deadly chemicals that qualify to be termed poisonous. Sometimes, sharing the knowledge on these chemicals is worthwhile and may enhance livelihood security.