Belgium wants to halt exports of banned pesticides
Belgium's Environment minister Zakia Khattabi has prepared a draft royal decree to stop the export of pesticides banned in Europe. Belgium is one of the European countries that export most of the chemicals banned within the European Union to other countries.
These chemicals and pesticides are banned because of their harmful effects on health and the environment. The EU denies the sale of these chemicals on the EU market but does not restrict their production and export.
In 2020, Belgium exported more than 4,500 tonnes of ethylene oxide, according to European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). This pesticide is considered harmful to health and causes cancers such as lymphoma and leukaemia after ordinary exposure.
Although Belgium exports the product worldwide, it recalled sesame products from India in 2020-2021 for fear that they were contaminated with this chemical.
"This situation is not only ethically and morally unacceptable but also leads to market distortion with unfair competition from third countries that can use certain chemical products," Khattabi said. "If these products are banned for use on European territory, it is unthinkable that we will continue to export them outside our borders."
The minister noted that many of these pesticides cause severe damage to human health and the environment, mainly through water and soil pollution and damage to biodiversity.
The proposed export ban, approved by the Interministerial Conference on the Environment (ICE) last week, is now under consultation with the European Commission and various advisory bodies.