Experts have cautioned against parthenium, a toxic weed more dangerous than dengue for humans, warning that it could lead to widespread  allergy, asthma  and other diseases.

The warning was issued by agriculture experts stated at ‘Farmer Day’ held at the Chak No 4, Ram Diwali under the aegis of Institute of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development of University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) and the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI).

UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Ashraf said that parthenium was spreading at an alarming rate across the country and it was extremely harmful for human beings, animals and plants. Humans in contact with any part of the weed can develop allergy,  asthma, eyes  and nose diseases etc. He said that plant gives 10,000 seeds that resulted in its massive outbreak. Dr Ashraf explained that parthenium could be managed using a combination of methods including preventive, cultural biological, manual, mechanical and herbicides. VC added that unfortunately, no systemic research had been conducted on the said weed.

UAF Social Sciences Dean Dr  Mehmood A Randhawa stated that invasive species approximately cost the global economy more than $1.4 trillion. He said that in the last 30 days, the UAF in collaboration with CABI had conducted more than 30 awareness sessions especially  in various villages on parthenism.

CABI Deputy Director Dr Abdul Rehman said that if an animal ate the weed, it could decrease its milk production and weight. He said it was essential that the general public and farming community was made aware about this silent enemy living among them. Dr Rehman emphasized that gloves must be used while removing the weed. He worryingly said that parthenium weed was even being used in floral bouquets.

Dr Ijaz Ashraf said that the cases of allergy, eye disease and other had increased in the hospital due to this toxic weed. Dr Ashraf said that parthenium is among the top 10 most dangerous weeds. He said that some hakeems were using the weed to treat some diseases. The trend was dangerous and the weed got responsible for the outbreak of many diseases in human being.

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