Europe’s Hypocrisy: Shipping Banned Pesticides to the Global South

If you can’t sell them at home, sell them abroad.

Gil Pires
Climate Conscious


Guatuso, Costa Rica by Jancy Barahona on Unsplash (2020).

Water tanks travel back and forth in Costa Rica, rushing to supply the towns of Cartago with clean water. There is little else to do, ever since the Government found out local water sources are contaminated with European pesticides.

It all began a year ago, in the winter of 2022, when a group of concerned residents from the small town of Ciprese, Costa Rica, asked a local lab to test their tap water. White foam and a heavy chemical smell near the springs that supply the region had triggered their suspicion that something was wrong.

The lab belonged to the Institute for Studies on Toxic Substances, of the National University of Costa Rica, which obliged to the residents’ request — free of charge even. Unfortunately, the results that came back only confirmed their worst fears.

The water these residents had been drinking and cooking with had reportedly 200 times the legal limit for residues of a pesticide named chlorothalonil — a broad-spectrum fungicide used by farmers since the sixties to protect their crops against mold and mildew.

Soon after, the tanks were rolling in and the Government began to close water springs in the region. By April, over 65