‘Methyl bromide making crops toxic’

‘Methyl bromide making crops toxic’

KARACHI: The Ministry of Climate Change, National Ozone Unit in collaboration with Plant Protection Department, Provincial Ministry of National Food Security & Research organized a workshop on "Phase down strategy of Methyl Bromide and adoption of its alternatives in Pakistan-2017" at a local hotel here.

Methyl Bromide (MB) is an odorless, colorless gas used to control a wide variety of pests in agriculture and shipping, including fungi, weeds, insects, nematodes (or roundworms), and rodents. Under Montreal Protocol, the use of MB is completely restricted to Quarantine & Pre Shipment (QPS) purposes since 2004.

Methyl Bromide is a toxic substance. Human exposure to high concentrations of Methyl Bromide can cause central nervous system and respiratory system failures and can harm the lungs, eyes, and skin. In the atmosphere, Methyl Bromide depletes the ozone layer and allows increased ultraviolet radiation to reach the earth's surface.

The workshop was aimed to sensitize the stakeholders on the conscious use of Methyl Bromide in sprays used for fumigation and to develop procedures and facilities for the alternate treatments.

During the workshop, the experts of Government and Agriculture Specialists raised extensive deliberations on Montreal Protocol (Policy & Practice), use of Methyl Bromide in quarantine &

pre-shipment (QPS) treatment and imports trends in Pakistan, phase down of Methyl Bromide under QPS, increase in methyl bromide demand under QPS from last couple of years and defining national course of action on managing the imports & effective use of Methyl Bromide.

Iftikhar-ul- Hassan Shah Gilani,Joint Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change, Laiq Khan, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Deputy Director Sohail Shahzad were among the experts participated in the workshop. The other officials include representatives of Ministry of Commerce, Federal Board of Revenue, Pakistan Agricultural Storage & Services Corporation Ltd (PASSCO), Department of Plant Protection (Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar & Multan), Methyl Bromide importers, fumigators and pre-shipment inspection agencies in Quarantine & Pre-shipment process.