Pesicides kill Assam Silk

C K Duarah in a silk reacherch center

Despite sincere efforts of some scientist, government officials and farmers the production of the exclusive silk of the state has not been increased due to climate change” an sericulture scientist said. Air pollution and vagaries of weather are responsible for premature death of worms. Muga is very sensitive to the odour of toxic chemicals, temperature and humidity. There are hundreds of silk rearing families in Jorhat district, especially in the Titabor region where Muga is decreasing compared to other varieties of silk. In Golaghat district few families are cultivating the tradition. Muga worms has been dying prematurely for years in these districts due to air pollution. The affected farmers blame the use of pesticides in neighbouring tea gardens.

A large number of people of various districts in Assam now have tea plantations and they use large amount of pesticides, insecticides and herbicides which are killing Muga worms. Mostly in upper Assam, mushroom growth of small tea gardens have marginalized the heritage silk cultivation and it is moving towards extinction. The excessive use of pesticides for pest and mites, mites an diseases control. Silkworm dies when they breathe toxic components mixed with air from pesticides used in tea garden nearby. Toxic pesticides like lindane, aldrin, dieldrin, dicofol, endosulfan, ethion, alphamethrin, cypermethrin, metasistox , acephate, paraquot, fenzaquin and others are being used in tea garden in Assam and silkworm has not a little resistance to smell of these mixed in the air. Climate change makes tea cultivators compelled to use excessive pesticides in their gardens. It becomes almost impossible for Assam tea to survive without the use of these chemicals because of the subtropical climatic condition in the state where the use of toxic chemicals are necessary to away with pests. But it threatens the Muga heritage . The excessive use of pesticides is happening on account of vagaries of weather attributed to climate change.

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