Hexbyte Glen Cove Sri Lanka ends farm chemical ban as organic drive fails

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Sri Lanka has abandoned its quest to become the world’s first completely organic farming nation.

Sri Lanka abandoned its quest to become the world’s first completely organic farming nation on Sunday, announcing it would immediately lift an import ban on pesticides and other agricultural inputs.

The island country has been in the grips of a severe economic crisis, with a lack of foreign exchange triggering shortages of food, and other essential goods.

Authorities had already walked back restrictions on fertiliser imports last month for tea, the country’s main export earner.

But ahead of planned farmer protests in the capital, Sri Lanka’s agricultural ministry said it would end a broader ban on all agrochemicals including herbicides and pesticides.

“We will now allow chemical inputs that are urgently needed,” ministry secretary Udith Jayasinghe told the private News First TV network.

“Considering the need to ensure , we have taken this decision.”

Vast tracts of farmland were abandoned after the import ban, first introduced in May.

Shortages have worsened in the past week, with prices for rice, vegetables and other market staples having doubled across Sri Lanka.

Supermarkets have also rationed rice sales, allowing only five kilograms (11 pounds) per customer.

Farmers’ organisations had planned to march on the national parliament in Colombo on Friday to demand the import of essential chemicals to protect their crops.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had justified the import ban by saying he wanted to make Sri Lankan farming 100 percent organic.

The policy was introduced after a massive hit to the cash-strapped island’s economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, with tourism earnings and foreign worker remittances drastically falling.

Authorities attempted to save foreign exchange by last year banning a host of imported goods, including some food and spices.

Sri Lanka also shut its only oil refinery last month after running out of dollars to crude.



© 2021 AFP

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Sri Lanka ends farm chemical ban as organic drive fails (2021, November 21)
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Hexbyte Glen Cove Sri Lanka returns illegal waste to Britain after court order thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Sri Lanka returns illegal waste to Britain after court order

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Sri Lanka has started shipping 242 containers of hazardous back to Britain as more Asian countries fight against being used as the world’s trash dump

Sri Lanka has started shipping 242 containers of hazardous waste, including body parts from mortuaries, back to Britain after a two year court battle by an environment watchdog, officials said Saturday.

Several Asian countries have in recent years been pushing back against an onslaught of international refuse from wealthier nations and have started turning back the unwanted shipments of garbage as they battle against being used as the world’s trash dump.

The first 20 containers of medical , which included from mortuaries, were loaded on the MV Texas Triumph on Friday and another 65 will be sent within a week, customs spokesman Sunil Jayaratne said.

“The balance will be shipped as soon as another vessel is available,” Jayaratne said.

Sri Lanka’s court of appeal two weeks ago ordered the repatriation of the bio-waste from hospitals and tonnes of plastic waste imported in violation of local and international shipping regulations.

The imports arrived between September 2017 and January 2018 and the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) had petitioned courts to get it rejected.

Customs did not reveal the type of waste, but officials had said it included rags, bandages and body parts from mortuaries.

In September, 260 tonnes of separate waste in another 21 containers was sent back after Britain agreed to take it back.

Local authorities discovered the new waste after the was started against the 242 containers held in Colombo port and a free trade area near the capital.

Sri Lanka’s customs maintained that all the containers had been brought into the country in violation of international law governing the shipment of hazardous waste, including plastics.

A Sri Lankan investigation last year into nearly 3,000 tonnes of illegally imported hazardous waste found the importer had reshipped about 180 tonnes to India and Dubai in 2017 and 2018.

Besides Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have also returned hundreds of container-loads of refuse back to their countries of origin.



© 2020 AFP

Citation:
Sri Lanka returns illegal waste to Britain after court order (2020, October 31)
retrieved 1 November 2020
from https://phys.org/news/2020-10-sri-lanka-illegal-britain-court.html

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