Stand of The Business Community of Uganda
On 25 April 2006 a letter of the Ugandan Business Community (signed by 36 key from the dairy, honey, coffee, tea, fish, flower, textile, horticulture, and organic sector) went to the president of Uganda.
“The business community has major concerns about the plans of the government to use DDT for Controlled Indoor Spraying because it is not an effective and realistic option and a threat to the economy of Uganda. Besides, funding has been provided to Uganda for control measures known as 'combination therapy' that can be effective without the use of DDT."
The key reasons for the business communities concern are:
- There is no such thing as “controlled” indoor spraying and so DDT effluents will at one point end up in the environment and the food chain and therefore negatively impact on Uganda's export markets. The stigma that would be attached to Uganda export products will affect all export sectors (flower, fish, oil seeds, coffee, tea, fruits, rice, dairy products, beef products, cotton, organic products, honey etc)
- Malaria parasites build up resistance to DDT and the control of the adult form does not control the breeding places (the source of infection!)
- There are enormous and collaborative funds provided from the USA and the EU for East African governments to fight malaria without the use of DDT. Uganda should follow the example of Tanzania and Zanzibar where the government concentrates on environment friendly preventive and alternative methods.
Malaria is the number one killer disease in Uganda and all efforts have to be put together to decrease the number of malaria victims.
DDT is not the answer to eradicate malaria. Many people still think that DDT can be used massively, as it was in the 60’s, but this method of application is now completely forbidden under the Stockholm convention. DDT in indoor residual spraying (IRS) can suppress malaria in the short term, but also has a lot of negative impacts:
- for exports: There is no way to avoid DDT contamination of the agriculture products produced by small farmers where the products have been stored in sprayed rooms. Large scale Agricultural Industries and fisheries will become affected as DDT used in IRS finds its way into the environment. Once in the environment DDT will remain for many years preventing no establishment of the export markets. Regulations are very strict when it comes to pesticide residues in food in Europe, America, Japan and many other countries.
- countries become dependant on DDT and have to spray every year otherwise malaria increases immediately the day spraying is stopped.
- DDT is a lazy solution and does not encourage people to protect themselves and take full responsibility for their lives, due to the belief that DDT will eradicate malaria.
- DDT is harmful for environment, animals and human beings. It persists and accumulates in the food chain leading to problems in the nervous system and foetal development.
Therefore it is recommended that the following combination of methods should be used to fight malaria without DDT:
- Introduction of aquatic plants such as Azolla caroliniana [Mosquito Fern], which covers the whole water surface and thereby interferes with mosquito oviposition, larvae, pupae.
- Changes in the placement and structure of human habitations, as well as changes in behaviour, to reduce human-vector contact.
- Education: If people don’t see the link between malaria and mosquitoes, then no steps and efforts will be undertaken to make their homes and communities mosquito-free.
- Environment management: If, through environment management methods, 70% of man-made Anopheles mosquitoes breeding places were destroyed so that the mosquito couldn’t use them for breeding, then we could deduct (through a simple theoretical mathematic calculation) that there should be 70% fewer mosquitoes and 70% reduction in malaria occurrence!!!!