International Suicide Day: WHO urges countries to ban hazardous pesticides

Sniper Insecticides used to illustrate the story (Photo Credit: Cleaneat Integrated Services)
Sniper Insecticides used to illustrate the story (Photo Credit: Cleaneat Integrated Services)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged nations to prohibit the use of highly hazardous pesticides which it noted can lead to a reduction in suicides.

The agency disclosed this on Tuesday while commemorating the International Suicide Prevention Day.

Despite a decline in the global suicide rate, one person still takes their own life every 40 seconds, records show.

Almost 800,000 people die by suicide each year, according to Data shared by WHO on Tuesday.

Suicide is only second to road injury in the global cause of death among young people aged 15-29.

The figures, according to WHO, shows that countries need to re-strategise towards preventing deaths by suicide.

The health organisation said restricting access to pesticides will also help.

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According to WHO publication also released Tuesday, “Preventing suicide: a resource for pesticide registrars and regulators”, the best-studied country is Sri Lanka, where a series of bans led to a 70 per cent fall in suicides and an estimated 93 000 lives saved between 1995 and 2015.

“In the Republic of Korea – where the herbicide paraquat accounted for the majority of pesticide suicide deaths in the 2000s – a ban on paraquat in 2011-2012 was followed by a halving of suicide deaths from pesticide poisoning between 2011 and 2013,” the report noted.

The organisation said such interventions have shown success in reducing suicides.

The most common methods of suicide is hanging, pesticide self-poisoning, and firearms.

WHO had estimated that the method used for 20 per cent of global suicides was through pesticide self-poisoning and these mostly occur in developing countries.

Suicide in Nigeria

Suicide rate is soaring in Nigeria with ‘Sniper’, an agrochemical, increasingly becoming a choice killer for persons contemplating suicide.

Nigeria’s Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) acknowledged this and placed a ban on the agro-chemical turned pesticide.

The agency said the ban became necessary because the recent wave of suicide cases across the country had been linked to the intake of Sniper.

Before the ban, Nigerians have been calling on the government to check the ease of access to sniper.

The ban is, however, yet to be fully enforced as the product is still accessible in the open markets.


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