High levels of pesticide residue found in cauliflower and bitter gourd samplesDoctors say long-term consumption of vegetables laced with pesticides can cause renal failure, heart and lung diseases, and even cancer.
High levels of pesticide residue have been detected in cauliflower and bitter gourd brought to Kathmandu Valley from neighbouring districts.
According to the pesticide residue detection lab of Province 3, a high level of organophosphate was detected on Tuesday in samples of cauliflower and bitter gourd collected from the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market.
"Those vegetables exceeded the permissible limit of pesticides," Prakash Ghimire, chief of the laboratory, told the Post. "We disposed them of after crushing."
Those vegetables were supplied from Dhading district. Besides confiscation and destruction of those vegetables, the laboratory has alerted the agriculture knowledge centre in Dhading about the detection of high levels of pesticide residue in vegetables produced in the district.
"Officials at the agriculture knowledge centre in the district will approach the farmer(s) and direct them not to harvest and send vegetables in the market immediately after using pesticides," he added.
Officials at the laboratory collect samples of fruits and vegetables regularly from the market and carry out pesticide residue tests. The last time the laboratory had confiscated and destroyed vegetables was about two months ago when green yard long beans samples were crushed and thrown away.
"We destroyed all the green yard long beans supplied from the farm after our lab detected a high level of organophosphate," said Jageshwor Sharma, a lab technician.
Pesticides are commonly used to get rid of insects, fungi, weeds and diseases, which damage plants and crops. Every year more than 635 metric tons of 170 types of pesticides including insecticide, fungicide, herbicide and biopesticide are brought into Nepal, according to the Plant Protection Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development.
Presence of pesticides in fruits and vegetables has been a major cause for concern. Earlier this year, pesticide residue tests on imported farm produce had even caused some diplomatic confusion between Nepal and India. India had taken issue with Nepal government’s decision to conduct pesticide residue tests on fruits and vegetables imported from India.
Doctors say high levels of pesticides in fruits and vegetables cause nausea, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, dizziness and anxiety. Long-term consumption of fruits and vegetables with high levels of pesticides can lead to kidney failure, lung disease and mental health problems, and can even cause cancer.
According to health experts, the consumption of such fruits and vegetables may also affect pregnant women and harm the foetus.
Facilities run by the Central Agriculture Laboratory have been regularly carrying out the pesticide test on vegetables and fruits brought into Kathmandu Valley for sale. The agriculture laboratory has been operating rapid bioassay of pesticide residue lab in the seven provinces across the country.