PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 June, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 June, 1998, 12:00am

I refer to the report by Anne Stewart headlined, 'Dangerous herbicide sprayed' (South China Morning Post, June 22), and your editorial on the same day headlined, 'Dangerous substance'.

Paraquat is an effective herbicide commonly used for the control of weeds in some 130 countries, including most developed nations in North America and Europe. To prevent mistaken consumption, we require the addition of emetic, stenching and colouring agents before the herbicide can be sold through licensed outlets. The herbicide has to be properly bottled and labelled with pertinent information on proper usage and safety precautions.

Officers of this department also inspect these outlets routinely and regularly to ensure compliance with licensing requirements.

This department will continue to review the use of herbicides and the latest information concerning their toxicity with a view to improving public safety.

The public is strongly urged to handle all herbicides and pesticides with care and follow the safety instructions at all times to prevent accidents.

The malicious use of paraquat or any other chemicals to poison animals should be reported to the police promptly for proper investigation.

CLIVE LAU for Director of Agriculture and Fisheries