The Horticulture Department has banned the sale of pesticide Ethephon in JK. The pesticide is widely being used as plant growth regulator and for ripening of fruits.“Keeping in view the hazardous and deleterious effects associated with the use of Ethephon on fruit and plant health, especially on apple, besides its harmful effects on human health as reported by SKUAST-K and Director Enforcement and their recommendations for its restricted use in Horticulture sector, it has been decided to ban the use of Ethephon on apple and impose restrictions on the sale and use of Ethephon (Ethephon 39% SL and 10% paste) in the State,” states the order issued by the Secretary to the Government, Horticulture Department, M H Malik here today.The order states that in view of wide range of harmful effects of Ethephon on fruit plants/human health, the Horticulture Department requested the SKUAST-K to examine the issue and advise on its effects. “A detailed report received from SKUAST-K reveals that by use of such ripening agent, the quality of the crop gets deteriorated besides, acceptability as such fruits cannot be stored for longer periods. The mostly used compound Ethephon, if used continuously year after year, may render the tree unproductive and also reduce the economic life of the plant. Ethylene treated fruits consumed immediately after the application results in dehydration due to its diarrheal properties.
Therefore, Ethephon treated fruits are not recommended for consumption immediately after its application,” the order said.It said the report of SKUAST-K clearly indicates the hazardous effects of use of Ethylene (Ethephon) especially on the plant heath, fruit quality, shelf life and harmful effects on human health. “SKUAST-K has recommended that in view of its hazardous effects on tree physiology and human health, restriction needs to be imposed on its commercial use in fruit industry,” it said adding that the Director, Law Enforcement, Agriculture Production Department also reported that the pesticide (Ethephon) is used as Plant Growth Regulator and for accelerating the process of ripening in the fruits and vegetables. “The pesticide is mostly being used for ripening of apple. It is not even recommended for use on apple by Registering Authority. The said pesticide adversely affects the health of plant/quality of fruit/shelf life and also have harmful effects on the human health; and Whereas, the Director, Law Enforcement has also recommended that the sale of the said pesticide (Ethephon 39% SL and 10% paste) may be restricted in apple growing areas, the order said.“Whereas, Ethephon is registered as pesticide with Central Insecticides Board (CIB), GOI, and has two formulations i.e. Ethephon 39% SL and Ethephon 10% paste. As per the major uses of pesticides, registered under the Insecticides Act, 1968, its use has been restricted to certain fruits and is not recommend for apple,” it said adding now, therefore, in view of these recommendations, sanction is accorded to the imposition of restrictions on the sale of Ethephon 39% SL and 10% paste and ban on its use on apple crop in the J&K State.