Stop Using Weedkillers to Clean Canals and Rivers

CAP urges the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry and related agencies to prohibit any person who is given the responsibility of cleaning irrigation canals and rivers from using herbicides or weedkillers for this purpose.

This restriction should be enforced immediately because using weedkillers is becoming more widespread in agriculture areas in the country, causing adverse impacts to the environment.

Commenting on a recent news report (Sinar Harian: 26 April 2014) about farmers in  Tikam Batu, Kedah hiring workers to clean the irrigation canals by means of poison, CAP expressed regret and objected the method used because it can trigger various adverse effects.

About 600 farmers here had to take these measures because the authorities had not acted sooner to clean the irrigation canals for a long time, causing disruption of water supply to their paddy fields when the planting season begins.

Irrigation canals in this area are not only overgrown with kangkung (water spinach) and weeds but also filled with thick undergrowth.

Among the villages affected by the problem is Kampung Berapit, Simpor, Komoi, Batu Lintang and several other nearby villages, totalling about 500 hectares of paddy fields in the area.

CAP’s survey found that the effects of using herbicides to kill weeds and wild plants in the canals and rivers in paddy-growing areas can cause siltation of the irrigation systems due to residue from the dying plants.

At the same time the water gets polluted and also causes the collapse of the canal and river banks. This condition can cause overflow of water or flood in the future, thereby threatening local livelihoods and destroying nearby rice crops.

CAP hopes the problem would be taken seriously and acted upon immediately by the parties concerned so that the life of farmers and their daily activities is not affected by the use of weedkillers, as well as practices that could harm the environment.

Press Statement – 6 May 2014