From: Associated Press
Published January 25, 2005 12:00 AM

Ecuador Foreign Ministry Says Colombian Anti-Drug Spraying Not Harming Border Region

QUITO, Ecuador — A scientific study shows that Colombia's aerial spraying of drug crops has not contaminated Ecuador's border region, the foreign ministry said Monday.

A commission formed in 2003 ago by the two countries analyzed nine samples from five zones along the 640-kilometer (400-mile) border and found no evidence of residue from the herbicide glyphosate on the ground or in the water, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The fumigation, carried out under the U.S.-backed Plan Colombia, is aimed at eradicating plantations of coca, the raw material used to make cocaine.

Ecuadorean farmers in the northern Amazon have complained for years that the spraying -- visible from across the confluent rivers separating the nations -- has harmed their banana, coffee and yucca crops and has caused them health problems, like eye and respiratory infections.

Colombian and U.S. officials have insisted that glyphosate, a variant of the popular backyard fertilizer Roundup, is ecologically harmless and safe to humans. They say the eradication push only targets large-scale coca and opium plantations operated by drug traffickers.


Source: Associated Press

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