Chile and the Montreal Protocol: It ends with the use of methyl bromide in strawberries and tomatoes

The Minister of the Environment, Pablo Badenier, announced the end of the use of methyl bromide in Chilean crops of tomatoes and strawberries, a fumigant used by 1940 for the treatment of pests.

It is the "Terminal Project for the National Elimination of Methyl Bromide", financed by the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol, with the support of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, as an international implementing agency, and the United Nations Program. United for the Environment, as well as the organisms of the Ministry of Agriculture, SAG and Odepa, as strategic partners.

The measure is part of the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement ratified by Chile that seeks the gradual elimination of substances harmful to the ozone layer. In the case of Chile, the decision is aimed at eliminating the consumption of 283 metric tons of methyl bromide.

"This helps us in one of the main objectives of the Ministry of the Environment: to move towards a sustainable development that protects our ecosystems for future generations, but also the health of the people", Maintained Badenier.

In the case of blueberry crops this product has been recurrent to combat Lobesia Botrana, a pest that has attacked these crops in the last two harvest seasons, even jeopardizing imports to the US.

It should be noted that this measure has not only occurred in Chile, as highlighted by Guillermo Castellán, representative of the Organization for Industrial Development of the UN, who noted that "When the project started there was a lot of skepticism, challenges, problems, many producers were nervous, but the important thing is that this project sought to accompany the producers, arriving on time so that they had effective tools to combat soil pathogens in general".

Since the 2009 year, the Ministry of Environment started working in discussion workshops to prepare this work. At that time the producers who represented close to 80% of the country's consumption of methyl bromide decidedly supported the project, even through letters.

"We worked together to implement more innocuous chemical alternatives, and also with non-chemical options such as biofumigation, grafted plants and sandblasting. This project worked from the treatment of seeds, the production of plants and the monitoring of their growth, to obtain the best agricultural yields.", Maintained Badenier.

The objective was to deliver to the agricultural producers, users of methyl bromide, in the treatment of soil, the technical alternatives (chemical and non-chemical) that would allow their final elimination. For this, the work focused on the most demanding crops of methyl bromide in the country, such as tomatoes and strawberries.

In addition to the effects for the ozone layer, methyl bromide has harmful impacts on human health and there are studies that prove that it could be related to the development of prostate cancer.

It is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas, which is impossible to detect when inhaled unless it is mixed with chloropicrin, an agent "alarm", because it is odorless, the person who is exposed to this pesticide he does not notice it until the damage is done.

The main symptoms and signs include blistering of the skin, headaches, nausea, vomiting, chest and abdominal pain and irritation in eyes, throat and nose. At low doses can cause delayed effects, seizures, muscle tremors and dizziness, among others. If this substance is inhaled for a short period of time, it can produce headache, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, vomiting, weakness, among other effects.

The minimum level of inhalation that causes toxicity in humans is 0,14 mg / L in air.

 

Source: El Ciudadano.cl

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