KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18, 2015:

Regional Environmental Awareness of Cameron Highlands (Reach) president Ramakrishnan Ramasamy said pesticide overuse was a problem all over the region due to lack of enforcement.

He said the Agriculture & Agro-based Ministry should have set up enforcement teams in Cameron Highlands a long time ago as the region was a major producer of vegetables.

“There is no agriculture enforcement unit in Cameron Highlands and the ministry can only advise the Land Office and Health Department, which are also tied down by lack of manpower.

“The situation is made worse by foreign workers taking over the farms as they are only concerned about maximising profits by using pesticides to ensure the vegetables look nice to fetch a higher price.

“In many cases, they do not read instructions that come with the pesticide. In any case, many of these foreign workers are illiterate.

“They also use drain water contaminated with sewage, fertilisers and pesticide for farming purposes,” he told The Rakyat Post in an interview.

Ramakrishnan said the problem had been going on for so long and yet there was no clear enforcement.

“No action has been taken even though non-governmental organisations have used harsh words.”

At the same time, he added that the blatant and indiscriminate usage of banned pesticides will be hard to stop as these chemicals are cheaper and effective.

“All of us are paying the price for this as water sources in Cameron Highlands are contaminated with pesticide.

“As a solution, government intervention is necessary to monitor the misuse of pesticides, while farmers and their workers must be educated if we are to begin to make a difference.”

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