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What is Glyphosate?

Context:

The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has restricted the use of glyphosate, a widely used herbicide, citing health hazards for humans and animals.

Relevance:

GS III: Agriculture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Glyphosate?
  2. Health impacts of glyphosate

What is Glyphosate?

  • Glyphosate is an herbicide. It is applied to the leaves of plants to kill both broadleaf plants and grasses.
  • The sodium salt form of glyphosate is used to regulate plant growth and ripen specific crops.
  • Glyphosate is one of the most widely used herbicide.
  • In India, glyphosate has been approved for use only in tea plantations and non-plantation areas accompanying the tea crop.
  • Use of the substance anywhere else is illegal.
  • It prevents the plants from making certain proteins that are needed for plant growth.
  • Glyphosate stops a specific enzyme pathway, the shikimic acid
  • The shikimic acid pathway is necessary for plants and some microorganisms.
Recent ban:
  • Only authorized Pest Control Operators are allowed to use it.
  • Earlier, state governments of Maharashtra, Telangana, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh have tried similar steps but failed.
  • The ban notification was based on a 2019 report by the Government of Kerala on prohibiting the distribution, sale and use of glyphosate and its derivatives.
  • Some 35 countries have banned or restricted the use of glyphosate.
    • These include Sri Lanka, Netherlands, France, Colombia, Canada, Israel and Argentina.

Health impacts of glyphosate:

  • Health impacts of glyphosate range from cancer, and reproductive and developmental toxicity to neurotoxicity and immune toxicity.
  • Symptoms include irritation, swelling, burning of the skin, oral and nasal discomfort, unpleasant taste and blurred vision.

-Source: Indian Express

 


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