There is a “contradiction the size of a cathedral” if glyphosate is actually being sprayed in the Colombian department of Putumayo, said Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), Ernesto Samper, via Twitter Monday.
Si se confirma q Colombia volvió a fumigar con glifosato en el Putumayo estaríamos ante una contradicción del tamaño de una Catedral.— Ernesto Samper (@ernestosamperp) August 3, 2015
“If it's confirmed that Colombia is spraying glyphosate in Putumayo this would be a contradiction of the size of a cathedral.”
The secretary general's comments come after a series a news reports revealed the possibility that the toxic chemical was being used clandestinely on illicit crops, even after it was banned by the government for health and safety reasons.
Glyphosate is a non-selective broad spectrum herbicide used to kill weeds, but also removes all types of herbs and shrubs, making it a large hazard to local flora. A recent study by the World Health Organization also found that the chemical can cause cancer in humans.
In May, Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, announced the suspension of aerial spraying of illicit crops with glyphosate, following the recommendations and warnings issued by the country's Ministry of Health who qualified it as carcinogenic pesticide.
The Colombian department of Putumayo is located in the country's southwestern region, on the border of both Ecuador and Peru, and lies at the heart of the Amazon rainforest – a prime location for secret crops and other illicit activities.
The chemical was brought to popularity by the chemical company Monsanto through their product Roundup, but is also used in other pesticides and herbicides.