57,000 push for ban on chemicals
A group of 57,000 medical staff and members of the public have signed a petition pushing for a ban on three harmful pesticides after the National Hazardous Substances Committee made a controversial decision to be lenient with the chemicals' usage.
The NHSC had decided to lift the scheduled ban on the herbicide glyphosate and put the ban on herbicide paraquat and pesticide chlorpyrifos off by six months, overturning its Oct 22 resolution to ban all three from Dec 1 onward.
This shift has concerned health advocates and state officials, including Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who supported the ban.
"The voices of medical staff and the public will be louder than mine as I'm only a politician," Mr Anutin said yesterday as he accepted the 57,000 signatures. The signatures were gathered by former NHSC member, Chiraphon Limpananon, who chairs the Pharmacy Council of Thailand.
The group wants Mr Anutin to forward its demand to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. "Speed up the process," Mr Anutin told ministry executives after accepting the petition.
The NHSC lifted the ban after coming under pressure from opponents, including farmers who are worried the measure would have a wider economic impact.