Summary: Colombian Council of Narcotics agrees to suspend aerial spraying of harmful chemicals

Bogota, 14th May 2015: the Colombian Minister of Justice and Chair of the Council of Narcotics, Yesid Alvarado Reyes, has announced the Council’s decision to suspend the spraying of illegal drug crops with glyphosate and other harmful chemicals, and to refocus the fight against drugs elsewhere.

SRT grantee the Inter-American Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA) provided legal and technical advice on the case. AIDA and other environmental organisations working in Colombia had previously collected over 20,000 signatures on a petition calling for the spraying to be suspended. The petition highlighted the need to protect the environment and human health from damage caused by the spraying, which is done over forests, homes, farms and water sources. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has determined that glyphosate may cause cancer in humans, and independent studies have documented other serious health effects such as skin diseases and problems during pregnancy. The spraying has also allegedly caused damage to biodiverse ecosystems, water sources and food crops, and forced families off their lands.

On Wednesday 13th May, in preparation for the Council’s decision, AIDA co-organised a debate on glyphosate spraying at the Memorial Center in Bogota which was followed by more than 2,500 people online.

AIDA’s Co-Director Astrid Puentes said, “Today we succeeded for Colombia, and our region. We achieved our goal for the thousands of people in Colombia who for years have been demanding the protection of their lands [and] a halt on sprayings, who today see a possibility of a change […] The implementation of the suspension is not an easy task, though it is a huge step in the right direction.”

Further information from AIDA’s website:

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