Colombia has made the decision to suspend aerial fumigation of illegal coca plants. Countless people, both in Colombia and abroad, have protested and criticized the fumigations for years. One of the main reasons is that they have wiped out 1,000s of hectares of LEGAL crops belonging to numerous farmers, Afro-Colombians and indigenous people. There were also disastrous environmental impacts such as destroying soil fertility, poisoning water, and pushing the cultivation of coca further into environmentally sensitive regions like the Amazon. Another main reason? The frightening health impacts. Conditions like nausea and vomiting, dermatological rashes and burnings, eye irritations and visual problems, miscarriages, loss of hair, breathing issues including lung cancer, fetal deformations, low sperm count, lowered red blood cell count, and mental health complaints have all been reported.
What are in these fumigations that are causing so much damage? The answer is glyphosate, a toxic herbicide (and main ingredient in RoundUp) developed and patented by Monsanto. So far, at least 1.6 million hectares (3.95 million acres) have been destroyed by aerial fumigations over the past 20 years and were funded and supported by the United States’s “War on Drugs”. Glyphosate is the worst kind of poison. Even after ceasing spraying, glyphosate residues in the soil can become reactivated by the use of phosphate fertilizers or other methods.
Thanks Gabriel for this article.