Schools Proximity to Plantations de Haut Penja, Learners' Attitudes and Incidence of Pesticide Contamination in Cameroon
Learners at school can be subjected to pesticide exposures both from use in the schools and from nearby operations. Plantations de Haut Penja (PHP) is an agro-industrial plantation that uses pesticides to spray its bananas (Musa spp) using helicopters. This aerial spray couple with air drift of noxious particles exposes learners in nearby schools to acute and chronic effects. This paper sought to compare learners' attitudes with regards to pesticide, in schools located closer to, and further
... to, and further away from the PHP as well as the incidence of contamination among the latter. Data was collected from 600 learners across 10 secondary schools in two subdivisions. Analysis was done with Microsoft Excel 2016 and Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) 16.0 software. Findings depicted that schools are located 5m away from the PHP where pesticides are used on a daily basis. Hence, this exposes learners to the harmful effects of these chemicals. Wind was perceived as the main driver of pesticides drift into schools as it blows from the south west direction at a maximum speed of 30ms-1 which facilitates the drifting of airborne particles of pesticides. As a result, learners closer to the PHP are more vulnerable than their counterparts further away. Kruskal–Wallis test depicted that learners are also involved in pesticides related activities due to a plethora of reasons which further broadens the incidence of contamination among the latter. The study concludes that an environmental impact assessment be carried out in order to install wind barriers in the PHP to prevent spray drifts from entering into schools and that, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER) with its decentralized units, should ensure strict implementation of the legal framework on pesticide use and the development, application and evaluation of government policy in the domain of agriculture and environmental surveillance for the proper management of pesticides in Cameroon.