In 2018 alone, more than 81,000 tonnes of pesticides containing 41 different hazardous chemicals banned for agricultural use in the EU, were exported by European corporations. Today Europen corporations continue to export pesticides that are banned In the European Union. A conference in Brussels held on 1 December 2022 tackled the issue of the impact of pesticides on farmworkers and communities in the Global South, and introduced the findings of a new study about the exports of banned pesticides, Member States and export bans on pesticides and hazardous chemicals, and the state of play for an EU-wide ban. Conference speakers included NGOs and the trade union movement, the European Commission, European Parliament, and EU governments.
More than 326 civil society organisations from across the globe, institutions and trade unions have published a Joint Statement demanding a ban on the export of hazardous chemicals that are forbidden in the EU. The statment was published ahead of 3 December 2022, the day of Global No Pesticides Day celebration, being introduced at the conference in Brussels. In addition, the EEB and partners delivered an export ban petition to the Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius who is in charge of this file. The petition was signed by more than 200,000 citizens from across the world.
The European Commission committed in the EU Green Deal’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability Towards a Toxic-Free Environment in 2020 to “lead by example, and, in line with international commitments, ensure that hazardous chemicals banned in the European Union are not produced for export, including by amending relevant legislation if and as needed.” However, the European Commission’s 2023 work programme does not include a much needed legal action to stop this practice.
A spokesperson for the civil society coalition said:
“This should be a non-brainer for the EU to act fast. Low- and middle-income countries like Morocco, South Africa, India, Mexico, Malaysia or Brazil are flooded with dangerous pesticides banned in the EU, which cannot be safely used and which have devastating impacts on both human health and the environment, resulting in widespread infringement of human rights. Moreover, these countries are among the biggest exporters of agri-food products to the EU and so banned pesticides might be ending up on the dinner plates of EU citizens.”