Webinar on ‘Drone Based Pesticide Applications: Implications on Health and Regulation’

7th July 2022

The Central Insecticide Board (CIB) has clarified in 2019 that spraying pesticides with drones is illegal in India. It further clarified that aerial application of pesticides need approval/permission from the Central Insecticide Board and no approval has been granted in the past. Meanwhile, various government institutions and drone companies seemed to be encouraging such kind of spraying oblivious to the illegality of such spraying.

Recently the Plant Protection Division of Department Of Agriculture And Farmers Welfare has issued standard Operating Procedure and approved a list of pesticide formulations for drone spraying. However, the relevant legislation on aerial spraying is also lacking in India.

Aerial spraying impacts a larger area, and is not limited to target pests. Weather and wind conditions add to the spread of chemicals. Spray drift takes the fine hazardous chemical beyond the range of application. Drones and unmanned aerial vehicles can be hazardous tools for spraying hazardous chemicals, in many ways, most importantly the ecology.

Application of chemical pesticides being the predominant mode of pest control in India, use of drones for pesticide application, would end up in dangerous situation, which the agricultural department or farmers or general population would not have any control. Exposure to people and public health as well as environmental contamination is major concerns as aerial spraying of pesticides is point source pollution.

In this light, Pesticide Action Network India  organised a webinar titled ‘Drone based pesticide applications: implications on health and regulation’ on 7thJuly 2022 from 4 pm to 6 pm.

Watch live recording of the webinar

The webinar highlighted concerns over possible adverse effects on public health environment and highlighted that permiting a dangerous technology such as drone for spraying of pesticides would be disastrous in the given cultural, socio economic and farming context in India. The current regulatory framework on pesticide use itself is inadequate, and there are no legilstion to adress the drone based application and its aftermath in India. Moreover, neither the current insecticide Act 1968 (which prohibits aerial appication oe pesticides), nor the recently brough Pesticide Management Bill 2020 addressed the drone technology in agriculture sector.

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