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Grey cloud darkens school

By Luz Carmen Osuna*

Baño de pesticida (:

Posted by Nachito Verdugo on Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Baño de pesticida. (Video courtesía Nachito Verdugo, Facebook)


Students at Cobach 3 High School (Colegio de Bachilleres 3) in Ciudad Obregón  suffered from allergic reactions, coughs and other reactions after unexpectedly being bathed in a cloud of unknown chemicals in the middle of recess. The foul smelling cloud emanated from a crop duster fumigating a neighboring field over a period of about 90 minutes.

Urban sprawl has invaded agricultural areas, resulting in residents increasingly  being exposed to the health risks posed by pesticides. As if this weren't bad enough, experts recognize that there are increased health risks due to the application of chemicals across the entire agricultural zone surrounding the city.

"They fumigate right next to us; in the Yaqui Valley there are increased levels of cancer. We don't even know what is being applied, but we do know that they use amides (organic compounds) that are prohibited elsewhere except in the Yaqui Valley", says Francisco García, farmer from Campo Bórquez, located in the valley.

He explains that as a farmer, he always has to be alert since his neighbors, wheat farmers, use fumigants that put the production of his crops at risk. He says it's very important to have a good relationship with his other neighbors, especially with the residents and nearby schools.

According to a poll carried out by Cobach 3 after the crop duster incident, of the ten students interviewed at least four said they suffered health problems due to the pesticide release.

Administrators and teachers expressed their intentions to not only stop fumigation during school hours but to put an end to the practice altogether.

*Student, Cobach 3 High School


Students show that urban organic agriculture is an alternative to the use of agrochemicals

Students with their squash crop

Studenta at Cobach 3 High School in Ciudad Obregón check out the results of their pumpkin crop in the school garden. (Photo: Alfredo Acedo).