International Day Without Pesticides is declared annually by the Pesticide International Network. On this day, we commemorate the accident that occurred on the night of December 3, 1984, at a pesticide factory in the Indian city of Bhopal. It has been celebrated since 1998, when the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Substances and Pesticides in International Trade was adopted in Rotterdam.
The Czech Republic signed this convention in New York on June 22, 1999. The goal of the convention is to promote shared responsibility and collective efforts of the contracting parties in international trade of certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in order to protect human health and the environment from potential damage and contribute to their environmentally friendly use by facilitating the exchange of information about their properties, securing the national decision-making process on their import and export, and disseminating these decisions among the contracting parties. Since Bhopal, the global use of pesticides has more than doubled to over four million tons per year, despite scientific research clearly showing that the use of chemically synthesized pesticides is one of the main reasons for the dramatic decline in pollinating insects, often referred to as the extinction of bees. Most flowering plants worldwide rely on pollinators, including almost all varieties of fruit or vegetable crops. The loss of pollinators therefore has serious consequences for the ecosystems in which they live and also threatens global food production and our future food security. In some countries, the dramatic decline in natural pollinators has created a situation where pollination now has to be done manually, examples include the cultivation of passion fruit in Brazil and almond plantations in China. Biodiversity is not the only victim of pesticide use. Pesticides have significant negative effects on soil, water, and human health. Every year, about 41 million people suffer from the consequences of accidental pesticide poisoning, including those who work in agriculture and residents of surrounding communities. Recent numbers from the World Health Organization (WHO) also show how pesticides play a major role in hundreds of thousands of suicides due to the availability of these highly toxic substances.