Tidskrift/serie: Rapport - Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för växtskyddsvetenskap
Utgivare: SLU, Institutionen för växtskyddsvetenskap
Redaktör: Berger A.
Utgivningsår: 1995
Nr/avsnitt: 4
Författare: Phiri J. S.
Adress: Environmental Council of Zambia
Ingår i...: Natural Plants Products as Pesticides. Proceedings from the first National Symposium i Zambia held in Lutsaka, 2nd-5th August of 1994
Titel: Zambian environmental policy on pesticides
Huvudspråk: Engelska
Målgrupp: Rådgivare
Nummer (ISBN, ISSN): ISSN 1104-6422, ISRN SLU-VÄXT-R-4-SE

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A background is given to the use of pesticides in agriculture and to international safety regulations. The Zambian environmental policy is based on the Zambian Conservation Strategy from 1985 and the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Act from 1990. Handling of chemicals are controlled by the Pesticides and Toxic Substances Regulations from 1994. Requirements for registering pesticides are presented.

1. Introduction

Pesticides, be they chemical, natural or biological, have been used by man extensively in the fight against various pests. Pesticides are substances used to control pests and include substances used as growth regulators for plants or animals. Pesticides include fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, nematicides, wood preservatives, plant growth regulators, soil sterilants, animal and bird repellents (Hurst, 1992). From the definition above, it is clear that pesticides will continue to play a major role in the development of man's welfare. It is estimated by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) that up to 35% food losses are abated by use of pesticides. As Zambia shifts from a copper based mono- economy to a more favourable diversified economy, agriculture will play a crucial role in her economic development. Agricultural development will naturally increase the demand for pesticides. In the public health sector pesticides will also have an important role to play.

It is important to note, however, that most of these pesticides by nature are poisons, designed to and capable of destroying one form of life or other. These substances are deliberately dispersed/dispensed in the environment in large volumes. Carson (1962) began to question the effects and the fate of some of these pesticides being applied to the environment. Earlier, side effects of some pesticides such as DDT, had already been noted in some of the bird species.

Although ideal pesticides should be specific to the target pest and should not be harmful to humans and other non target animals, it was soon discovered that human poisoning cases were increasing as the use of pesticides became part of the green revolution. These human poisoning cases became more common particularly in the developing countries where currently it is estimated that up to 5000 deaths occur annually as a result of pesticide poisoning (UNEP, 1990). Following the question of safety of pesticides to humans and the environment, developed countries put in place legislations to control use and manufacture of pesticides. To help developing countries in controlling importation and use of pesticides, the United Nations through its specialised agencies FAO, UNEP, WHO (World Health Organisation) and the ILO (International Labour Organisation) have developed some "regulatory" instruments or programmes. Some of the programmes include the Prior Informed Consent (PIC), the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) and the Basil Convention on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Substances. Zambia has participated in all the programmes.

2. Pesticide policy in Zambia

In Zambia, concerns about the use of pesticides and their effect on the environment were shown in the early 1970's and 1980's by some academicians, individual research scientists and organisations such as Entomological Society of Zambia (ESZ). By 1985, Zambia had put in place an environmental policy in the form of "Zambia Conservation Strategy" which included reports of fish deaths as a result of pesticides being used against insect pests of agricultural crops and livestock. In this document the Zambian environmental policy of pesticides was first formally presented. However, Zambia did not have and environmental policy per se until 1990, when the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Act (EPPCA) No. 12 was enacted. Part VII and sections 57 to 65 of the EPPCA lay the legislative framework for Zambia's environmental policy on pesticides. Part M, sections 81 to 86, provides for the establishment of the inspectorate of the Environmental Council which was founded earlier under part II sections 3 to 6. To enable the enforcement of the requirements of the Act, the minister responsible issued a statutory instrument No 20, of 1994.

3. The Pesticides and Toxic Substances Regulations 1994

These regulations seek to control the importation, exportation, manufacture, storage, distribution, sale, use, labelling, packaging, transportation, disposal and advertisement of pesticides. Under regulations No 3 and 4 control of the above is done by registration and authorization through a certificate. Ideally a pesticide is registered after meeting requirements of other sections of the regulations (5 to 10). Before a pesticide is registered, the Environmental Council can request for review of use and efficacy of the pesticide. Review and testing can be done by own or prescribed laboratories.

4. Requirements for registering pesticides

A pesticide may be registered or denied registration based on information on some of the following:

a) Toxicity: A pesticide that is highly toxic to man and the environment in general may not be registered specially if alternative less toxic pesticides exist.

b) Persistence: It must not be very stable in the environment over a period of years.

c) Carcinogenic or Teratogenic: It may be rejected if it is implicated that the pesticide may cause cancer or reproductive problems.

d) Shelf life: It must have a reasonably long shelf life preferably two (2) years.

e) Safety Data: This must include information on treating poisons.

5. Provisional registration

The pesticides registration scheme which started in May 1994, is provisional and meant to enable industry to provide all the necessary information and also enable the Environmental Council to asses capacities and competence of manufacturers and distributors and at the same time collect data on the pesticides.

6. Conclusion

As a result of the concerns on human health and environment, it is Zambia's policy that all pesticides must be registered by law. It is illegal to use or sell a pesticide that is not registered. While natural pesticides may be seen to be safer, emphasis should not only be on efficacy tests but include mammalian toxicity and general environmental effects.

Although pesticides will continue to be used for many years to come, their use should be regulated to ensure minimal negative impacts on the environment. Scientists should look more upon the role of pesticides in IPM programmes in which research is concentrated to develop environmentally safe or friendly pest control methods with a minimum use of pesticides.

7. General discussion

Shehata: Is it allowed by the Environmental Council to apply a natural product as a candidate pesticide for research purposes?

Phiri: Yes it is allowed and we recommend that much research includes ecotoxicology and in particular possible mammalian toxicity.

Sohati: What is the policy on the disposal of hazardous wastes?

Phiri: Hazardous wastes must be disposed in the most environmentally acceptable manner. This must be in accordance with the requirements of the Pesticides and Toxic Substances Regulation Number 10. The recommendation made by the manufacture as given on label must be followed. Due to lack of appropriate destruction methods we recommend that waste should be packed in leak proof containers and stored securely in well ventilated buildings.

Mbewe: What are the main constraints in implementing the ECZ policy on pesticides? What is ECZ doing about these constraints?

Phiri: So far we have had tremendous support from our partners and in particular the industry which has responded well. We are therefore enforcing the regulations smoothly. Whatever constraints we meet at this stage are not significant.

Nyagulu: What parameters does one need to satisfy in order to obtain registration for a plant derived pesticide? Who should provide that information? Who counter checks the data given?

Phiri: The manor information required include:

(a) Toxicity to animals (mammals) and other non-target forms of life

(b) Persistence in the environment

(c) Chemical and physical properties in different conditions

(d) Eco-toxicological data

(e) Safety data; needed for users to prevent poisonings

(g) Capacity and ability by manufacturer to handle products

Information must be provided by researcher or institution involved. The data given is counter checked by ECZ technical committee on pesticides. Currently the ECZ is not carrying out formulation tests.

Mwambula: What is the Environmental Council doing on pesticides that have been banned in other countries?

Phiri: The ECZ is gathering data on types of pesticides currently in use in Zambia. Some pesticides that have been banned elsewhere are also being considered for a ban or restriction in Zambia. However to arrive at such a decision we need to consider many factors of course including toxicity, carcinogenicity, eco-toxicity (environmental effects), the existence of safer alternatives and also economic factors. Products that have been withdrawn by manufactures are not registered in Zambia.

Kaposhi: We are developing pesticides for use at the village level for small scale farmers, where a farmer can grow the plant with insecticidal properties, crush the leaves, extract them with a known volume of water filter and apply them on his/her crop or animal. Would these types of plant products need the rigorous registration procedure?

Phiri: At this stage it is not necessary to obtain registration authority per se. However, it is required that scientists carrying out such work notify the ECZ of that type of work. This is important especially when developing safety information for use by farmers. If on the other hand, this work goes commercial then it will be subjected to rigorous procedure.

Muliokela: What are the tenets of the national pesticide policy? What is policy implication for implementing IPM on cotton products in Zambia?


1. All pesticides must be registered with the ECZ.

2. Preference is to have ideal highly specific or selective insecticides. Safety information must be given to farmers

3. Pesticides must be used where possible along with other programmes such IPM

4. All large pesticide use must have an environmental impact assessment and environmental monitoring.

Regarding cotton, you will agree with me that 'PM is not equally applicable to all pest problems. Cotton currently uses more pesticides than any other crop and may not currently benefit from IPM but it is possible to develop IPM's in cotton as well and we encourage such development.

8. Literature references

Carson, R. 1962. Silent spring. The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass. USA.

Hurst, P. 1992. Chemical control policy in European communities WWF, Gland Switzerland.

UNEP. 1990. Nature Watch, Industry and Environment Report, 1990, France.