March 29, 1998

Most Nations End Spraying Of Planes

Knight Ridder
 
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The U.S. Transportation Department has campaigned for years against the spraying of pesticides on airplanes landing in other countries, and last month it claimed victory, announcing that nearly all countries have given up the practice.

The pesticides have ingredients potentially harmful to people, and the department had proposed a rule requiring airlines and travel agents to notify clients when booking flights to countries that sprayed.

Such a notice would have a chilling effect on tourism.

The U.S. focus on spraying began in early 1994. Now, the department says, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago are the only places with direct service from the United States where spraying is required with passengers on board.

Twenty countries have dropped the required spraying of all arriving flights.

“We are pleased that these nations, along with the World Health Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization, have agreed that routinely exposing air travelers to airborne pesticides is unnecessary, but should be carried out only on aircraft arriving from countries that pose a threat to public health, agriculture or the environment,” Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater said in a statement.

Kiribati and Madagascar continue the spraying practice but have no direct flights from the United States.

Six countries still allow the spraying of empty planes on their airstrips: Australia, Barbados, Fiji, Jamaica, New Zealand and Panama.

The department has dropped its push for the rule requiring airlines and travel agents to inform passengers, but has set up a Web site with up-to-date information on spraying at http://ostpxweb.dot.gov/

Countries and territories that dropped the spraying requirement are Argentina, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Cape Verde, Chile, Republic of Congo, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, India, Kenya, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, New Caledonia, Nicaragua, Seychelles, St. Lucia and Yemen.


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