Healthier Watermelons for Our Children

Initiative: Phenomenon UA

Location: Kherson

Year: 2020-2021

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Watermelons and Kherson go together just like champagne and France. The Kherson region is one of the exclusive producers of watermelons in Ukraine. There are even efforts under consideration of having the local brand “Kherson melon” registered. At present, however, this could be a problem. It is impossible to know how many pesticides and nitrates you consume when you eat a “Kherson melon”. Analyzes of samples have shown that the levels in the vast majority of cases are grossly above the allowed limits. This poses a risk especially for children, for whom watermelon is a popular seasonal fruit and for whom even lower amounts of chemical exposure can be dangerous when compared to adults. The excessive use of chemicals may seem to only be motivated by the desire to increase yields, but it has also happened due to the lax approach of state and local inspection authorities, which look the other way at these kinds of violations. As part of their campaign, the Phenomenon UA Initiative decided to mobilize the Kherson public and, with their support, urge the responsible inspection authorities to create a system that would clearly and sufficiently ensure long-term monitoring and compliance with the limits for pesticides and other chemicals in the production of Kherson melons.