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SRD supports the campaign “Protect our children from toxic pesticides”

On the occasion of the campaign "Protecting our children from toxic pesticides" launched by PAN – Asia Pacific (PAN-AP), on December 01 2016, the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD), in association with People's Committee (PC) and Department of Education and Training (DOET) of Phu Luong district, organized the event named "institute pesticide-free buffer zones around schools" at primary and secondary schools of Dong Dat commune. This event attracted several representatives from Phu Luong DOET, district Agriculture Extension Station, district Plant Protection Station, local leasers, teachers, parents, and more than 300 pupils in Dong Dat commune, Phu Luong district, Thai Nguyen province.

Several communication sessions led by pupils, including: Theater for Development (TfD), knowledge contests, presentations and interaction among audience and distinguished guests, provided useful knowledge and information about the harmful effects from toxic pesticides on human beings when using them in agriculture and in daily life. It is also noticed that pesticides are currently overused everywhere, especially around schools, and has seriously harmful impacts to the healthy development of children.

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Result of the survey carried out by pupils at households living within a 01 km radius around schools in Dong Nghe 1 village reveals the fact that 90% of interviewed households often apply pesticides and other toxic chemicals to their farms of tea, vegetables, rice and fruit trees. This practice has made drinking water, the air and agricultural products being poisonous, resulting to a harmful living environment to local people. Many local children are reported poisoned due to unhealthy foods and polluted air from their parents' pesticide utilization practice.

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Through this event, pupils conveyed strong messages of saying No to pesticides and saying Yes to Non-chemical alternatives and agroecology instead of toxic chemicals. More importantly, a pesticide-free buffer zone within at least 01 km around school should be created. Leaders of DOET and local authorities showed their commitment in encouraging local community to reduce and replace toxic pesticides by other safe alternatives products as well as promoting sustainable biodiversity-based ecological agriculture models such as clean vegetables and rice cultivation under SRI methodology with bio-pesticides.

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At the end of the event, Ms. Nguyen Thi Hoa – Deputy Director of SRD highly recognized the efforts of local schools and authorities at all levels in reducing the issue of overuse of pesticides and toxic chemicals in agriculture, which prevent children to enjoy their rights to live and develop safely and healthily. She also expected the full participation of children in communicating the harmful effects of pesticides to their families and community and monitoring the commitments of adults in applying non-toxic pesticides in their farms around schools for a healthy and safe environment for children to study and develop.

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