Paraquat blamed for 86pc of lives lost

Picture: FILE

EIGHTY-SIX per cent of Fiji’s suicide deaths could have been avoided if there were means of restricting access to paraquat.

While acknowledging the bold step taken by the Ministry of Agriculture to ban the weedicide from being imported into the country, Dr Odille Chang told more than 470 participants at the 21st Attorney-General’s Conference that 19 per cent of Fiji’s suicide deaths were by the use of paraquat.

“Because we know suicide is preventable and one of the means is by restricting access to means and I am happy the Ministry of Agriculture has prohibited the importation of paraquat from January 2020,” Dr Chang said.

“We would have approximately then saved 86 per cent of lives if the measures have been put in place sooner.”

Meanwhile, 5 per cent of Fiji’s suicide deaths are 16-year-olds, almost one third are between the ages of 17-25 years and 36 per cent suicides are 25 years of age.

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