The band ‘Saturn’s Return’ who run the film production company ‘Selva Rica’ have produced a video about the use of the pesticide DDT in the production of bananas. The widespread use of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, or DDT, and other pesticides in around the world has had carcinogenic effects on workers in the agricultural sector where the cemical is used.
Although DDT was amongst the most comonly used pesticides globally in the 1950s, it soon became apparent that DDT had longer lasting effects on humans, animals and the wider environemnt. In humans, DDT is stored in organs in the body which builds up to high concentrations. Exposure can cause headaches, nusea, vomiting, confusion, tremors and certain cancers.
Annika and Renzo Zanel, members of ‘Saturn’s Return’ aim to generate awareness about environmental issues through vidoes, films and other media. Annika told us about how they got involved in this work. “‘ I used to work for Oxfam in Bangladesh with farmers who were suffering from the systemic ruining of their lands and health at the hands of Syngenta, Dow, and Monsanto. So when we came to Costa Rica – a “green” country – we were shocked to see the spray planes flying over the banana fields in front of our house every couple of days. We began talking to banana workers and their families who told us about their sterilization and the harmful affects of the sprays. Despite having banned many of these chemicals in the US, the whole Caribbean region of Costa Rica – and even down into Panama and Nicaragua- is inundated with these chemicals a few times a week. So we figured we could raise some awareness on the issue with a fun music video. Though I have a background in agriculture and policy making, my passion is film making, and thus my husband Renzo and I founded Selva Rica in Peru back in 2007.”
Dow’s toxic legacy continues to be seen across the world. From Bhopal, to Vietnam to Costa Rica.
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