Christians and Buddhists joined forces with farmers to highlight the dangers posed by arsenic poisoning and to promote organic farming.
A panel of experts addressed a discussion among religious and area farmers about the deadly poison, which has been blamed for the death of more than 20,000 farmers in the past two decades.
“We have found that arsenic poisoning is the cause of a rare kidney disease found in the north central province,” said Dr. Channa Sudath Jayasumana, a member of the medical faculty of Rajarata University.
“According to our research, we found arsenic in soil, rice and water.”
The panel discussion was organized by the National Movement Against Poison at Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute in Columbo last week.
More than 300 people including farmers, nuns, priests, Buddhist monks, members of research groups, NGOs and journalists participated in the discussion.