Colombia proposes to resume aerial spraying of coca fields

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia’s government has proposed resuming the aerial spraying of coca fields, four years after it was suspended over health concerns.

On Monday the Ministry of Justice published a draft law that would allow fumigation flights under supervision of the national police. The proposal also calls for the creation of an independent agency that would oversee complaints related to aerial spraying including any potential impacts on rural communities.

The effort to bring back fumigation flights comes as Colombia struggles to contain illegal production of coca, the plant used to make cocaine.

According to the United Nations the area under coca cultivation in Colombia has tripled over the past five years, reaching 169000 hectares (417600 acres) at the end of 2018.

Colombia suspended the aerial spraying of coca fields in 2015 after a study by the World Health Organization found that glyphosate, the chemical used in fumigation flights, could cause cancer. U.S. officials opposed the move, and said there was not enough evidence to prove that the chemical posed a danger to humans.

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