Greenpeace, September 8th, 2003

Bayer, Stop Poisoning India!

Greenpeace India launched a week long "mobile cyber action" against Bayer in the city of Bangalore, to get Bayer to keep up its promise of replacing WHO Class I pesticides, and to highlight the fact that Bayer is trying to obstruct civil society efforts in securing safe food and water for all Indians (by intervening in a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court of India). This mobilization effort would also bring the focus of the current pesticides debate onto another set of culprits - multinational agri-chemical companies like Bayer who are practicing double standards on Indians.

The mobile kiosk that Greenpeace India is taking around the city is equipped with laptops on which people can line up their email petitions to Bayer, with copies marked to the Prime Minister of India and the Minister of Agriculture, Government of India.

In addition, Greenpeace India is asking cyberactivists around the world to support this action by sending their own letters to Bayer (see letter below).

Mr. Satish Bhambani,
Bayer Cropscience

Dear Mr. Bhambani,

Our food and water is poisoned by many deadly chemicals produced by you. In spite of the environmental and health hazards that your products pose, you have been aggressively marketing these to the farming communities of India. You are thus directly responsible for adversely affecting millions of farmers and consumers of this country.

In your Annual Report of 1995, you committed to ushering in progress on important areas like environmental protection and product safety. You clearly promised “to reduce the amount of product required per application” and to “replace WHO (World Health Organisation) Class I products (highly toxic) with products of less toxicity”.

In India, however, you continue to create markets for pesticides like Methyl Parathion (Metacid), Oxydemeton-Methyl (Metasystox), Monocrotophos (Bilphos), Cypermethrin (Cybil and Bilcyp) and Edifenphos (Hinosan 50EC)all of which fall in the Class 1 category. These pesticides are responsible for several cases of poisoning. In addition, you also have other deadly pesticides crippling the farmers of the country: Butachlor, Quinalphos, Fenvalerate, Endosulfan, Mancozeb, Fenthion, Dicofol, Acephate, Fenitrothion, Carbaryl, Triazophos etc.

Both sets of pesticides contain chemicals that are cancer-causing (Group B and Group C carcinogens), that disrupt human hormonal functions (endocrine disrupting chemicals), that create birth deformities in foetuses in the womb (teratogens), that cause embryo-toxicity, that cause liver and kidney damage, that wreck the nervous system, and that generally suppress human immunity to diseases.

The world knows that many of the above pesticides had to be withdrawn by you in your home country, Germany. But you continue to practice corporate racism and profit from continuing to sell these poisons in India.

You are clearly reneging on the promise you made to your shareholders, and are treating Indians as second-rate citizens, which is unacceptable to us.

Worse yet, as part of CropLife India, you are now intervening in a Supreme Court case which seeks to ensure Safe Food and Water for all Indians in an attempt to belittle civil society efforts to save the environment and health of all Indians.

I demand that:

You stop producing and selling the poisonous chemicals that you produce and market in India, beginning with the ones that you have already promised to phase out.
Give an undertaking before the Supreme Court of India that you would stop producing toxic pesticides.

Mr. Stephan Gerlich, Managing Director, Bayer India
Mr. Anil Jain - Head, Marketing, India
Mr.Aaloke Pradhan, Head, Corporate Communications
Mr. Pierre Louis Dupont, Country Group Head on India