The Slow Poisoning of India

The Slow Poisoning of India

2012, Environment  -   29 Comments
Ratings: 8.53/10 from 78 users.

The Slow Poisoning of IndiaThe Slow Poisoning of India is a 26-minute documentary film directed by Ramesh Menon and produced by the New Delhi-based The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). It deals with the dangers of excessive use of pesticide in agriculture. India is one of the largest users of pesticide in Asia and also one of the largest manufactures. The toxins have entered into the food chain and into our breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The film showcases startling case studies from Kerala where villagers in Kasaragod district are paying a heavy price as it has been exposed to pesticide spraying for many years. It talks of the health impacts in other parts of India and also on how the magic of the green revolution in Punjab is fading as land and water bodies have been poisoned.

But some farmers are bouncing back into better practices, and this is a silver lining shown towards the end. "Many farmers are now switching from chemcial to organic farming as they see that it is the only way out of getting into a spiralling whirlpool of debt created by the high cost of pesticides. Farmers like Tokia Modu in Warangal are waging a silent biological war against pests and are winning.

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29 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Gargey Trivedi

    People also look up Natueco farming technique and also personalities like Masanobu Fukuoka, Dr. Sripad Dabholkar, Bhaskar Save and Deepak Suchde... Their ideas go beyond organic farming into proactive mimicking of nature to network the complete ecosystem.

    1. Voluntaryist

      Yes, "beyond organic"! "Excessive pesticides" is misleading. Any amount is excessive. The same for synthetic fertilizers. They are counter productive, in the long run, on net.

  2. Juci Shockwave

    It appears as if India needs to get its priorities straightened. They have a lack of females (due to the practices of female infanticide, because of outdated patriarchal traditions), the caste system, weak infrastructures of neglected buildings and streets, and now this thing about GMOs, bad chemicals and corporations such as Monsanto destroying the farming traditions. Farming traditions such as saving seeds for the next harvest, which has kept most of humanity alive for thousands of years. The US and many other nations have their list of bad reputations too (shoot the US is the ultimate whore that corporations love to rape time after time), but it seems to me that there are more documentaries trying to convince me to never even think about visiting India.

  3. Jane Tow

    Yes. Very good, well thought out and a lot of info in a short time.

  4. F. Thorne

    Oh my gosh! I was shocked to see this documentary. My family has a farm in Punjab & I swear to you if you don't believe this film (for whatever reason) - I have seen this first hand - it's true, the fields are soaked in pesticides, there's no governance there, you can spray as much as you want. The farmers are not educated on how much to use & consequences so they go crazy. The crops look big, green, beautiful, but they are not fit for eating in my opinion. I have seen the Peacocks disappear, frogs, snakes, mice & rats of course all are gone pretty much. I can't draw a direct connection but people are starting to get cancer now too, I don't think they used to have cancers there before (or they weren't catalogued). People are also dying younger, my grand father died at 96, that doesn't seem to happen any more. We used to get peacocks aplenty. There is not one left in the village. That happened in the last 5 years.

  5. cyberfrank

    sad story for those who got sick, but, at least, with an happy ending.

  6. Arjun Acharyya

    The greatest f*cking problem in my great country is the ever expanding population and its 'Globalized' needs...

  7. Nisha Halai

    Farmers opting to go back to organic farming due to increasing costs of pesticides!!? No. The government (as driven by financial institutions and greed), created enforcements for the farmers to produce specific yields for export! Hence creating farmer suicides when yields were too low. However, the larger issue is that of using pesticides in the first place! Regardless of the cost, we need to encourage our farmers and ourselves to become self sustainable with organic farming within our local communities. Playing up to political rules takes away our power and therein lies the problem.

  8. Jane Halsall

    I have grown cauliflower and when the sun gets on it during the flowering stage it does turn creamy yellow, so I used to bend the leaves over to keep it white! There is a yellow variety but I think they were talking more about the yellowing that is a natural occurance with the white cauliflower!

  9. Randi

    The reason some cauliflower is white is because it is a different variety, it has nothing to do with the pesticide levels. The Yellow variety is a natural mutant of the white which originated in Canada. There are also green and purple cauliflower.
    I can't trust anything this documentary says from now on. It's a shame to ruin what could've been a perfectly legitimate message.

  10. Srinivas Pola

    It is very scary to hear this ... Yes we need to support organic farming

  11. Yogi SmarterBear

    many thanks to Dr Vandana Shiva .. she is making a tremendous difference ... we need more wise women like her !

  12. Kennygolucky

    They can't do nothing in India. Companies like Monsanto have the US government behind them and can force, bully India to purchase pesticides that is illegal globally. The US will bully any country in order to make a buck. The world will go to hell, thanks mainly to the US.

    1. Ryan Hahn

      Stop buying and using their products. These greedy corporations are not the problems, they are just the symptoms of the society. It's up to every single one of us to be morally evolved. These corporations are ruthless and greedy because WE are ruthless and greedy. We change ourselves, we change the world.

  13. Andrei Tunariu

    Also, India is still importing Asbestos..banned in some 50 countries due to its toxicity...I really hope the government in charge wakes up real soon.

  14. Andrei Tunariu

    Its such a tragedy what the corporations are doing to the world. Why?! Why did we go so far from reality?

  15. Guest

    Well build, good refences. Based on a few comments here below, this docu was of help to some occidental viewers.

    It should be taken in consideration that India has a heck of a good community in science, especially in chemistry.
    They went forward on their own quite a bit since the 50's.

    It has a good ending note as Dmitry Pestov but they still have so much to do.
    I wonder where they're at today.


  16. Dmitry Pestov

    I'm so happy that this documentary ended on a good note.

  17. panthera f

    I guess Monsanto has found India now, to "help" them ? :-((

  18. jk

    Pesticide sprays are scary. But more scary are the genetic pesticides that companies like Monsanto are putting into crops. Most of the North American population is unaware of this. But many Japanese and Europeans are aware of it and are fighting hard (with reason) to go organic. North Americans have a lot to learn about agriculture. I'm a Canadian farmer (30 years+) and have only recently become aware of this.

  19. oddsrhuge

    I personally don't see a problem with a claim like: "All pesticides are poisons."

    I believe that anything that hadn't previously occurred in any environment, could be considered a "poison" When a substance or compound is introduced by human hands to fix a specific problem, very little care is taken as to what the "potential" effects may be to the natural processes of other organisms in that same environment.


  20. joe

    "All pesticides are poisons" This is quite a claim to make! A drastic claim needs drastic proof… I am sure there are plenty of pesticides out there with no harm to humans. I have just started watching and I am already very uneasy about their direct certainty.

    Bryanadams, Pesticides are chemicals (not a bacteria). If you heat the chemicals to say 100 degree Celsius, this does not mean the chemicals become unharmful. If fact, they may not do anything (not enough enthalpy). Even if the heat (enthalpy) was high enough for a reaction to occur the products may be more harmful. So heating up does no good (of course depending on the chemical). If it was a living creature such as bacteria that causes salmonella in eggs. This heating up would fix your problem

    1. Samuel Ford

      First off, definition of a poison according to the Dorland's medical dictionary, "Poisons are substances that can cause disturbances to organisms." Therefore the statement that "all pesticides are poisons" is fairly accurate.

      I am not chemist, however I believe what you're referring to in heating of a pesticide/chemical mixture to neutralize it by allowing it to bond (endothermic process) with whatever it's mixed with (H2O, Oxygen, Nitrogen, etc...). As long as it is heated so that it reaches it's enthalpy of reaction than it is feasible, assuming the required constituents for the reaction are there.

  21. Sai

    Its heart breaking to see the effects of pesticides that cost the lives of millions of people, and the suffering of their loved ones is heart wrenching.

    Organic farming using natural pesticides has to become the future of the world.

    Go organic farming!! Please support organic farming!!

  22. Ben

    The indians have foolishly believed the north american claims that poison style agriculture is the way to high yields and high profits.They were misled during the first green revolution,today they are suffering the consequences of GMO agriculture,which is merely an extension of the same old poison-intensive monoculture type agriculture of the past,and even more toxic.The indians,in fact,have become so used to poison,that they use it on a regular basis to kill themselves when their crops fail.

    1. Samuel Ford

      The indians? We do the same thing in the U.S. with other less harmful pesticides and fertilizers. The mid-west is a prime example, fields treated with nitrate based based fertilizers and pesticides run-off into rivers and seep into the groundwater that is then used for drinking water. Although they monitor specific chemicals in drinking water, and are not allowed to to surpass EPA set limits. These EPA limits are based on the average amount over the course of the year. Therefore, samples are taken more often when the nitrate content is lower (i.e. during times of the year that less fertilizer and pesticides are being used). High nitrate levels can result in methemoglobinemi. Infants are especially vulnerable as this is more commonly known as Blue Baby Syndrome.

  23. sammy

    There are more documentaries like the world according to monsanto , the future of food etc which deals with the similar issue . BGH (bovine growth harmone) is given to cows for extra milk nd is used all over india . The consequences like reproductive problems , cancer , iq deficiency etc are common in the consumers . India is developing country nd a good target for elites nd corporates who run this fcked up moneytary system nd companies like monsanto takes over billions by manipulating the laws nd athorities in government institutions . Achieving the free society requires courage to think , to talk , and to act especially when it is easier to do nothing nd if lazy indians feels good with doing nothing on this , world will see tht i will never , ever come back to india .. lol

  24. Bryanadams

    This is the main reason why in india people never eat raw vegetables, they cook the vegtable with hot water and then use it. Any way very eye opening documentry, since people are traped in the poor and want to do more for money ultimately they pay the price. The saddest thing is people who are using in the farm are not the only people who are geeting effected, its the poor villagers and kids who pay the price of thier lives.


  25. Theri

    This is very interesting yet shocking. Good documentary!