Utilization of boxes for pesticide storage in Sri Lanka

Pieris, R., Weerasinghe, M., Abeywickrama, T., Manuweera, G., Eddleston, M., Dawson, A., Konradsen, F. and Edinburgh, U.K., Utilization of boxes for pesticide storage in Sri Lanka.

Abstract

Pesticide self-poisoning is now considered one of the two most common methods of suicide worldwide. Encouraging safe storage of pesticides is one particular approach aimed at reducing pesticide self-poisoning. CropLife Sri Lanka (the local association of pesticide manufacturers), with the aid of the Department of Agriculture, distributed lockable in-house pesticide storage boxes free of charge to a farming community in a rural district of Sri Lanka. Padlocks were not provided with the boxes. These storage boxes were distributed to the farmers without prior education. We carried out a cross sectional follow-up survey to assess the usage of boxes at 7 months after distribution. In an inspection of a sample of 239 box-recipients’ households, 142 households stored pesticides in the provided box at the time of survey. Among them, only 42 (42/142, 29.65%) households had locked the box; the remaining households (100/142, 70.4%) had not locked the box. A simple hand over of in-house pesticide storage boxes without awareness/education results in poor use of boxes. Additionally, providing in-house storage boxes may encourage farmers to store pesticides in and around houses and, if they are not locked, may lead to unplanned adverse effects.

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