Saturday 6 November 2010

What the Greens didn't get wrong: DDT

On Thursday 4th November 2010 Channel 4 in the UK broadcast 'What the Green Movement Got Wrong' and specifically charged environmentalists with responsibility for prolonging Malaria for decades as a result of bans following apparently wrong-headed environmental campaigns against DDT.[1]

DDT is harmful to wildlife when introduced into the environment, but also is a useful tool for combating Malaria.[2]

Apparently the programme was even re-edited just before broadcast to scale back the accusations, which originally expressly laid the blame for 10s of millions of deaths directly at the door of Silent Spring author Rachel Carson and green campaign groups – parroting claims made by libertarian ideology groups in the US[3]. It's stunning rhetoric and a powerful warning as to the perils of communities, scientists and interest groups getting involved in decisions best left to big business and profit-makers. It's also fabricated nonsense from start to finish.

There was no such worldwide ban on DDT, the chemical has seen continued and widespread use in agriculture and disease control in developing countries throughout. Instead there were partial agricultural restrictions in the US. Sometimes us foreigners like to jest that yanks have trouble differentiating between America and the entire rest of the world; well, tee-hee-hee. The UK and a handful of developed European nations also joined with limited agricultural restrictions of their own. That was the sum of global statutory restrictions until 168 international governments ratified the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants, which came into force not decades ago, but in 2004; Annex B of which green-lights the continued use of DDT for disease control[4].

In reality, through decades of hard campaigning, what the green movemnet achieved was to highlight devastating environmental damage that spurred policy makers and scientists from a broad representation of fields to deliver sensible legislation that protects our environment and promotes best practice for disease control. Instead of what the bent propaganda from the poisonous, divisive and largely US politicking would have you believe, a generation of environmental campaigners have plenty to be proud of. Channel 4 should set the record straight.

Jay Pettitt,, Transition Town Wivenhoe

Contact Channel 4
Contact Of-com

1. 6/11/10

2. 6/11/10

4. 6/11/10