DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The government of the Philippines is being forced to make a tough choice between its drive for export dollars and its responsibility to protect public health as opposition to aerial spraying of pesticides continues to mount.

Environmental campaigners want to enlist Japanese consumers in their fight to permanently ban the practice because 45 percent of the nation's bananas are exported to Japan.

"We want to reach out to Japanese consumers to help us in putting pressure on banana planters to abandon aerial spraying of pesticides," said Lia Jasmin Esquillo, executive director of the nongovernmental organization Interface Development Interventions.