The Environmental Quality Protection Board (EQPB) had worked last June with the US EPA Region 9 Pacific Islands Office and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture on pesticide testing in vegetables that are farmed in Palau and sold in local stores and markets.
EQPB sampled vegetables from most commercial farms in Palau which were brought to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture Laboratory in Pearl City, Honolulu, Hawaii for testing. The results of the test are expected to be sent back to Palau within a month and a half.
Pesticides are defined as “substances which prevent, destroy, repel or mitigate any pest.” A Banned Pesticide is defined as a pesticide whose use has been prohibited by EQPB. Banned Use is further defined as any use which is prohibited by EQPB or any use which is suspended or cancelled by US EPA.
Farmers in Palau are required to declare use of any pesticides and obtain permit from EQPB if they are applying pesticides.
EQPB conducts regular monthly inspections of all farms in Palau for pesticide use. However, its laboratory is not currently equipped to test for pesticides.
Treating waters and the environment contaminated by pesticide is also costly. Pesticides if ingested through water or food contents, could have detrimental health impacts to humans, especially children and the elderly. Testing of vegetables grown at the farms is a sure way of knowing if the vegetables contain pesticides or not.
EQPB requests the public, most especially State Governments, to be cognizant of the commercial farming within their States and check if they have appropriate permits for farming.
EQPB requires permit for commercial farms to address major impacts of earthmoving to streams and rivers as well as address impacts of pesticides. (PR)