Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 26, 2016 (SKNIS):  The Pesticide Board and by extension the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment will host a number of activities during Pesticides Week 2016 to highlight the importance of mitigating risks from exposure to pesticides in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.

 The activities include talks in schools, both in St. Kitts and in Nevis on Monday, September 26; a Round Table discussion on ZIZ TV on Tuesday, September 27; and a Pesticide Workshop in Nevis and in St. Kitts on Wednesday, September 28 and Thursday September 29 respectively. The week culminates on Friday, September 30, with an Exhibition at the Independence Square.

 The Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Agriculture and Environment, said that the main purpose of Pesticides Week is to make sure that the message is received by all.

 “We are making the people aware that overuse of pesticides can cause harm to humans and to the environment and that is basically what we are trying to highlight this week,” said Minister Hamilton. “So we hope that in the schools and on the radio programmes that we will sensitize those individuals who ought to be sensitized to the risks that we face when we are using so many pesticides.”

 Activities during the week will focus on pesticides storage, practices and how important proper storage is to pesticides users and the general public, as improper storage of pesticides can lead to pesticides fires, spills and accidental poisonings such as suicide. It can also lead to a wide range of human health hazards, ranging from short-term impacts such as headaches and nausea to chronic impacts like cancer, reproductive harm, and respiratory failure.

 Minister Hamilton noted that the Ministry of Agriculture has been successful in recent times where the proper handling of pesticides is concerned. In August 2015, with the assistance of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Department of Agriculture was able to ship out of St. Kitts the old stock of pesticides that was in the Federation from the sugar industry era.

 Studies have shown that pesticides are the only toxic substances released intentionally into the environment to kill living things. This includes substances that kill weeds, insects, fungus, rodents and others. The use of toxic pesticides to manage pest problems has become a common practice around the world. Pesticides are used almost everywhere, not only in agricultural fields, but also in homes, parks, schools, buildings, forests, and roads.

 During his address to commence Pesticides Week on Sunday, September 25, Minister Hamilton encouraged citizens and residents alike to make a special effort to participate in the week long activities.

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