Iran-backed Houthis are endangering the lives and health of millions of Yemenis due to the presence of large quantities of banned and expired agricultural pesticides stored in the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation warehouses in Sanaa.
Private sources have revealed the possibility of leakage of these pesticides due to the deterioration of their containers, which could result in contamination of the area and air due to the reactions caused by these pesticides.
There is also a possibility of fires occurring in the warehouses due to the presence of highly flammable materials that can produce flammable gases in the air under normal atmospheric pressure if their flash point is below 21 degrees Celsius.
A report issued by the "Central Control and Accountability Agency," which is under Houthi control, confirmed the excessive importation of agricultural pesticides, leading to the accumulation and expiration of these pesticides and their transformation into hazardous chemical waste within the country, making their disposal extremely difficult.
Meanwhile, the annual report of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (not recognized) in Sanaa for the year 2021 revealed the seizure of 10 tons of smuggled and prohibited pesticides. However, no measures are being taken to reduce smuggling or activate the role of monitoring and inspection or expedite the handling of cases pending before the Public Funds Prosecution for years, as pesticide cases are considered urgent. Furthermore, necessary surveys and studies are not being conducted, posing a significant threat to public health as it leads to soil poisoning, damage, and the spread of various diseases, especially cancer, due to the leakage of these substances into vegetables and fruits, in addition to the potential risks of these products on groundwater and the ecosystem.
In February 2023, four transport vehicles carrying 406 crates of smuggled insecticides and agricultural pesticides were seized in an area between the districts of Hamdan and Arhab in Sanaa province.
A report issued by the Parliament, which is under the control of the Houthis, confirmed the lack of supervision and control over the use and storage of pesticides away from residential areas, demanding the prohibition of entry for banned, dangerous, and expired pesticides and the imposition of deterrent measures against anyone involved in their importation.
The danger of smuggled pesticides lies in the fact that they are of unknown origin and may be globally banned, containing toxic compounds and impurities that can lead to the spread of serious diseases in humans such as cancer, infertility, birth defects, and neurological disorders.