KALIMANTAN – This investigation reveals how EU-banned pesticides are dumped in Indonesia, disrupting Borneo ecosystem, and communities’ livelihood.

Paraquat is a highly toxic weed killer produced by the Swiss (now Chinese-owned) company Syngenta. Despite being banned in Europe since 2007, paraquat is still manufactured in the UK and exported predominantly to the Global South.

In 2019 Indonesia was the third global importer of paraquat from Europe. In Kalimantan, the Indonesian Borneo, paraquat is widely used in palm oil intensive monocultures: it prevents weeds and other plants from proliferating, allowing palm oil palm trees to grow faster and taller, producing more.

In Seruyan, Central Kalimantan, paraquat is affecting not only the health of the workers - mostly women hired as daily laborers to spray the pesticide - but also the community’s livelihood, polluting the water and disrupting the ecosystem.

With the Indonesian government trying to silence dissent on such a key sector, and the EU refusing to take actions on banned pesticides export, local communities' health and future are at stake - as the long-term consequences of pesticide might hamper any attempt to switch to more sustainable cultivation.


Photo: Daniela Sala


Team members

Daniela Sala

Daniela Sala is an Italian award-winning multimedia journalist.

Daniela Sala

Adi Renaldi

Adi Renaldi is a journalist based in Jakarta, Indonesia with more than a decade of experience.

Adi Renaldi
€18,740 allocated on 28/08/2023



  • Paraquat: banned in Europe, on sale in Indonesia, Geographical magazine, July 2024 edition


  • Indonesia
  • Italy

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