"The court was hearing a suo motu case initiated after it was informed that 5.3 percent of vegetables and 0.5 percent of fruits sold in Delhi had pesticide residue above the prescribed maximum residue limit (MRL)."
New Delhi, May 21 - The Delhi High Court was Wednesday informed that the city government alone cannot tackle the high content of pesticide residues found in vegetables and fruits sold here.
Amicus curiae Sanjay Jain told a division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw that the problem cannot be addressed through Delhi.
Delhi is a consumer market. The problem starts at the point of cultivation when various pesticides are added. Remedial measures have to start from the point the cultivation begins, he said.
The agriculture ministry also informed the bench that an extensive media campaign has been initiated by it to educate the people regarding safe use of pesticides in fruits and vegetables.
The central government's advocate Meera Bhatia, through an affidavit, said: The agriculture ministry has decided to extend all assistance to the state government of Delhi in setting up requisite infrastructure for enhancing its capacity to carry out sample testing of pesticides in fruits and vegetables.
Appearing for the Delhi government, advocate Zubeda Begum told the bench that it was adhering to periodic monthly sample tests of fruits and vegetables sold in the capital.
The court was hearing a suo motu case initiated after it was informed that 5.3 percent of vegetables and 0.5 percent of fruits sold in Delhi had pesticide residue above the prescribed maximum residue limit (MRL).
The court acted suo motu on a report of NGO Consumer Voice, which had in 2010 found that 35 varieties of vegetables and fruits, picked from Delhi markets and tested for pesticide content, had toxins beyond the permissible limits.