The Pesticides Control Authority (PCA) will be educating Jamaicans on the proper management of pesticides to cut down on hazards in the home and environment.
This, as the authority observes ‘Pesticides Awareness Week 2012’ from September 23 to 29, under the theme: “Protecting Health and the Environment through Pesticide Management.”
PCA Registrar, Michael Ramsay, told JIS News that several children usually end up in hospital each year as a result of the mismanagement of pesticides by adults in the home. He said that pesticides are poisonous and must always be handled with care.
“The important thing is to ensure that children do not get a hold of these pesticides and the way to do that is to ensure that they are locked away and out of the reach of children,” he stated.
He informed that during the week, sellers and users, including farmers and householders, will be sensitised on how to properly use, store, and dispose of the chemicals.
Mr. Ramsay said the authority is strongly recommending that pesticide users read the labels before purchasing, as they provide all the necessary information regarding safe handing. He warned that protective gears should always be worn when handling pesticides in order to prevent chemicals from coming into contact with the skin.
The PCA Registrar said that emphasis will also be placed on how to properly dispose of unused pesticides and empty containers. “If we don’t use (and dispose of) pesticides properly, they can be a health hazard to humans, pets and other animals, and they could also pose a serious threat to the environment,” he pointed out.
The week of activities, which coincides with the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the PCA, got underway today (Sept. 23) a service of thanksgiving at the Saxthorpe Methodist Church in St. Andrew.
On Tuesday (Sept. 25), the annual national agriculture school’s quiz competition will be held at Sydney Pagon High School in St. Elizabeth, and the PCA will convene a pesticide safety meeting in the farming community of Guys Hill in St. Catherine on Wednesday (Sept. 26) at 6:00 p.m.
Activities continue on Thursday (Sept. 27), with an outside broadcast at St. William Grant Park, downtown Kingston, at 2:00 p.m.
Established in 1992, the PCA is the statutory body of the Government of Jamaica, which has responsibility for managing and controlling pesticides use in Jamaica.
A pesticide is a chemical used to prevent, destroy, or repel pests such as insects, and mice; weeds, fungi, or microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses. They include bactericides, baits, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, lures, rodenticides and repellents.
Most pesticides contain chemicals that can be harmful to people, animals, or the environment. Examples of pesticides used in the homes are: cockroach and mosquito sprays, rat poisons, and flea and tick sprays.