#Editorial

The Sniper Wahala!

Jun 7, 2022, 10:42 AM

The Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides Control and Management Board Gambia has announced that it has placed a ban on the importation, distribution and even sales of the hazardous chemical and pesticide called- Sniper with immediate effect.

The decision affects its importation, warehousing/stockpiling, distribution, sales and use of the product.

However, the move comes following a trending audio on messaging app- Whatsapp, where it was alleged that the hazardous chemical was used in the processing of smoked fish.

According to the audio, the chemical is applied to prevent the fish from decaying and attracting insects likewise pests. It is a well known fact that sniper is a pesticide product in wide circulation in The Gambia.

With this development, Gambia now joins Nigeria and other countries to place a ban on the importation, distribution and even sales of this dangerous chemical.

It must be noted with concern the recent surge in the number of strange ailments in the country. Most of these ailments are the result of the strange foods we consume in our homes.

Nowadays, even newly born babies develop strange ailments that pose nightmare to health officials. Kidney failure in the country is becoming a major concern. On a daily basis, our hospitals are inundated with cases of strange diseases including kidney failures to other serious cases.

However, most people in The Gambia use the chemical as it is widely believed to be the most effective method of driving away insects including mosquitoes, cockroaches and more importantly bedbugs. Due to its effective role in always driving bugs, many have now resorted to using this chemical.

Nonetheless, if this Whatsapp audio is anything to go by, the Ministry and the Food Safety and Quality Authority should launch a thorough investigation as soon as possible. One can be exposed to the many risks of DDVP by breathing it in, skin absorption, swallowing it, and eye contact.

The trending audio needs to be probed to ascertain its veracity before it is too late. And if it’s true, those behind the ungodly activity should be arrested with immediate effect. The health of the populace matters. Foods that are consumed should not come in contact with any dangerous chemicals.

Sniper belongs to the DDVP chemical family, 2,2-dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate compound, marketed in most Africa and European countries, as a synthetic organophosporus and so used outdoors. But many people have turned it into an indoor insecticide.

Experts say the active ingredient in sniper product is dichlorvos, an organophosphate compound, which is a banned product in most part of the world due to adverse effects they posed to human health and non-target species in the environment.

We therefore call on people to remain alert and report to the nearest police any dubious activity especially at our food processing centres. Together we can make a difference in building a prosperous nation. Let’s remain vigilant.

 

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