I just received a comment to the my post "Will It Ever End?" that should be instead published as a post.
It comes from Jurgen Shirmarcher's wife. The Shirmarchers are battling since years against the plague of pesticides in Riebeek-Kasteel and thanks to them something has been achieved. I think we all should be grateful to them.
Here it is:
"Hello Barry Duck
I sympathise with you regarding this pesticide matter.
My husband and I live in the Boland and we too are being sprayed, in an unlawful manner, with pesticides, so much so that we have ( including our children) ended up in hospital and have been diagnosed as having been exposed to pesticides and organophosphates.
As I type this to you, my joints and fingers are aching ( I have recently spent 2 weeks in hospital) and the diagnosis is pesticide induced multiple chemical sensitivity.My kidneys, liver and spleen were also affected by the pesticides.
The farmer has said that "nothing he sprays is harmful to man or to the environment" and he probably really either believes this, or is is just a very good liar. We forced him, by means of a High Court Order, to notify us in writing, what he sprays us with and to our horror we discovered that many of the pesticides are 1b highly hazardous chemicals, that many of them have been banned in 52 countries (except South Africa which seems to be decades behind) and that many of them have been found to not only cause damage to ones central nervous system, ones endocrine system, but are also carcinogenic and give one cancer.
The problem is not just endemic to Barrydale, but also to most rural towns in the Western Cape and other parts of South Africa. Similar complaints have come in from Stellenbosch, Paarl, Villiersdorp,Franschoek, Grabouw, Riebeek-Kasteel,Groblersdal ... the list is long.
The hardest part about raising public awareness, is that the farmers will say that they were here first and that if you dont want to be sprayed with toxic pesticides then go back to the city. What they dont seem to understand is that if they allow their pesticides to get blown out of their vineyards/orchards then they are actually breaking the law and are guilty of a criminal offence. They may also then say that because they have Eurepgap Certification (if they export ) they have to adhere to strict standards. But do they really? and who keeps a tab on the way that they spray?
It may take years for some people to get cancer as a result of the pesticides. For others they may have almost instantaneous side effects - it varies from person to person.
Nausea,headaches, tingling tongue and metallic taste on lips, ahcing joints, chronic fatique, vertigo, painful joints, heart palpitations are all well documented symptoms of exposure to pesticides and in particular organophosphates. The more serious long term illnesses like cancer, hodgsons lymphoma, parkinsons ..... take a little longer to manifest themselves.
Should we all be concerned ?? YES.
Are our rights, to be able to live in an environment that is not harmful to our health being infringed upon ? YES
The next question is , what are we going to do about it, to protect our health, our rights and the health of our children ?
Those who dont think and or believe that the pesticides will make you ill, should put their money where their mouth is, and allow themselves to be exposed to the spray drift. When they too get ill, they will then believe how serious a situation this is."