Thursday, October 22, 2020

Government chemical subsidies worsen pollution ÔÇô Birdlife Botswana

The Director of Birdlife Botswana, Dr Kabelo Senyatso says Government’s subsidised sale of chemicals to farmers for agricultural purposes worsens pollution. Senyatso fired salvos at the government saying the subsidised sale of chemicals has been the reason for the deaths of vultures which have died in large numbers in Botswana.

Addressing members of the press last week at Cresta President’s Hotel, Dr. Senyatso said there is a chemical that the famers have found to be effective in killing of the carnivores that eat their livestock.

“I will not say the name of the chemical but I know it and the government knows it. What people do not know is that killing these carnivores that way may have long standing negative impacts on their land, their livestock and even to themselves,” said Senyatso. He said if the government is really committed to making a change in pollution then the Ministry of Environment Wildlife and Tourism should stop the supply of the chemical for agricultural purposes.

An official in the Ministry of Agriculture, Loitseng Sebetwane also shared the same sentiments when he addressed participants at the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) capacity building workshop at Khama Rhino Sanctuary. At the workshop, Sebetwane said government’s agricultural programs that are meant to empower Batswana also contribute in over supply of chemicals in form of pesticides and fertilisers. 

Sebetwane also lamented over the fact that Botswana has signed for international Treaties meant to control the use of chemicals, but has not adopted legislation for the same. 

With regards to poaching, an official from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Mbiganyi Frederick Dipotso, said “the escalating practice of poisoning carcasses while trying to kill predators has far much more damaging effects on many other species than just the predators that may have been targeted.”

Although both Birdlife Botswana and wildlife authorities are not sure how many species of vultures are being exterminated, they all agree that the plight of the white-backed vultures is dire. According to the World Conservation Union (IUCN) which assesses endangered species ÔÇô the white backed vultures is now threatened with extinction. Senyatso also said poisoning also contributes to this problem.

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