| 5 December 2023, Tuesday |

Lebanon: Toxic agricultural pesticides poison people’s food

Lebanese MP Wael Abu Faour revealed the smuggling of obsolete and carcinogenic agricultural pesticides to Lebanon, either across the Syrian border or through the Beirut port, pointing to a major smuggler of Syrian nationality and his Lebanese partners in a number of regions.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Abu Faour said that based on this information, he will report on Thursday the names of involved persons and companies to the Public Prosecution Court of Cassation.

He added that several means are used to smuggle these pesticides, whether “in barrels, through the port of Beirut, disguised as cleaning materials, to be repacked and sold to farmers later.”

Smugglers also used fraudulent approvals by some ministries, especially the Ministry of Health, as well as fake invoices, to suggest the dangerous substances are cleaning products for warehouses and homes, he noted.

“These pesticides are prohibited in most countries of the world, and in Lebanon, based on the decisions of the Ministries of Agriculture and Health,” the former health minister underlined, adding that those were being used by farmers, sometimes “out of ignorance, while others are aware of their danger but still use them out of lack of conscience.”

Many of the toxic products have been the subject of warnings by the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization because of their links to cancer and other life-threatening diseases, as well as poisoning and childhood illnesses.

Abu Faour stressed that the Lebanese were struggling because of the government’s inability to secure medicines, including cancer treatments.

He urged caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati to hold an emergency meeting with the concerned ministers, namely the ministers of health, environment, agriculture, interior and justice, to prevent, at a minimum, harm to Lebanese citizens, calling for quick measures by all security services to resolve this matter.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat