The group at the Administrative Court today. credit: Thai-PAN

Anti-toxic farm chemical group steps in to help fight farm company’s complaint against the government’s ban on hazardous chemicals

They said their participation would help bring out the truth for the best of the public interest

The Thailand Pesticide Alert Network or Thai-PAN and its alliances today have filed a petition to the Administrative Court, asking for its deliberation to allow them to take part in the ongoing court complaint filed by the giant farm chemical company against the government’s recent ban on two critical farm chemicals_ Paraquat and Chlorpyrifos, one of which is the company’s prime product.

The two chemicals and Glyphosate had long been subject for public scrutinies for their hazardous qualities against the public’s health and the environment.

Over 600 sustainable farming and anti-toxic farm chemicals organisations and networks, including Thai-PAN, had pushed for the ban of the three farm chemicals for over a few years before they were banned by the National Hazardous Substances Committee in October last year.

But its resolution was turned by the new committee in November, which decided to only limit uses of Glyphosate while delaying the banning of the other two chemicals until June this year.

The latter was finalised by the Industry Minister, who chaired the committee, in early May, resulting in the new announcement to list Paraquat and Chlorpyrifos as the hazardous substance type 4, meaning they are banned for uses and sales in the market from June 1, 2020, onwards.

The ban was hailed by sustainable farm advocacy groups as a major step in being the toxic free farming country as these chemicals are the most popular among Thai farmers.

The network, however, later found out that Syngenta Crop Protection Company had filed a complaint to the Administrative Court, asking it to revoke the ban.

So, it has decided to intervene. As explained by Thai-PAN’s coordinator Prokchol Ou-sap, the network wished to share facts and information it has in the court along with the concerned state agencies for a more thorough input before the court deliberates the case and delivers the ruling in the public interest.

Prokchol questioned that while Switzerland has banned Paraquat for over 20 years, why this Switzerland based company is fighting to see the chemical being on sale in other countries.

She said the network wished to share the facts it has in the court as it has realised well the extent these farms chemicals are harmful to the public’s health.

According to the Foundation for Consumers, which accompanied the network today at the court, its lawyers now are working on lawsuits for some farmers whose health has been affected by these chemicals.

The Administration Court will consider the network’s petition and rule whether it will allow the group to take part in the case as the third party or not.

As explained by the court official, such the third party could take part in an ongoing court case upon the court’s request, or they can petition to the court to consider and allow them to take part in a case, given their legal involvement, mostly as another affected entities. But this is again up to the court’s consideration.