Pest Control Operators Need to Protect Environment


Director of Environmental Health in the Ministry of Health and Environment, Peter Knight, has emphasized the important role which pest control operators need to play in the protection and preservation of public health and the environment.
This comes against the background of what he said were debates and discussions over reports of increased cases of cancer.
Speaking at the opening of the Pesticides Control Authority (PCA) pest control operators two-day workshop at the Medallion Hall Hotel in Kingston, today (February 20), the Senior Director said while there were no studies linking pesticides to cancer, “we are facing changing epidemiology as it relates to cancers,” and urged caution on the part of industry stakeholders.
“The fact that we don’t have definitive statements (linking pesticides to cancer), means that we have to use the precautionary principle. We have to be careful that when we use and sell pesticides, we are doing it appropriately,” he added.
Mr. Knight implored the operators to be cognizant of their stewardship, urging them to be vigilant in protecting their personal interests as well as those of the pest control industry against destabilizing factors.
“You have to become watchdogs (of your profession) to prevent incursions and unfair practices. You need to support the Pesticides Control Authority, in that you don’t allow people who are unregistered to come into the industry and practise, as well as guard against unfair practices among yourselves. Because, it gives a bad name to the persons who are registered and who are towing the line,” the Senior Director cautioned.
Mr. Knight also emphasized the importance of operators practising within the prescribed areas for which they were certified by the PCA.
“So, for example, if you don’t have permission from the Pesticides Control Authority to do termite treatment, then you can’t do it; you have to stay within the limit that is set for you by the PCA. We have never discussed, as a (PCA) Board, that we are restricting persons from practising in a broad way. (But) you must get the approval of the PCA, (and) you must have the (requisite) competence,” Mr. Knight advised.
To this end, he stressed that the PCA, as the industry regulator, needed to “reinforce the regulatory requirements, (while) at the same time updating the operators on what are the requirements.”Over 60 registered pest control operators from Kingston, St. Catherine, St. Thomas, Clarendon and Manchester are attending the workshop. Key topics being covered include: ‘Mosquito Control’; ‘Rodent Control’; ‘Bat Management’, ‘Fumigation’, and ‘Whitefly and Other Garden Pests’.

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