Sunday the 6th October I went for a walk on the Brunswick beach with my family. When I got to the dog beach walking tract I noticed that all the Bitou bush in front of the surf club and on the south side of the beach dog walking track had been sprayed with herbicide. I have been working with very dedicated volunteers from the Byron Shire Chemical Free land care group on this area at the Crown Land site for the past two years and it was very heart breaking to see the disrespect towards what we are trying to achieve: chemical free research in bush land management. I felt very disappointed because we have been negotiating with Byron Shire council staff since August 2011 to avoid this toxic cocktail being used on our precious dune ecosystems, also to give us a buffer zone for our site.
We had offered kindly saying that our group were prepared to do all that area free of cost to keep our beach free of toxic chemicals. I felt concerned because it is a very public place. Do you think that wind will keep all that contaminated sand inside the fenced area? How do you feel when your baby plays and touches all that sprayed area? My heart shrinks when my children went there because glyphosate, the standard herbicide used in this approach has been shown in independent scientific studies to have severe harmful affects. Furthermore, particularly in sand soil, this chemical stays ‘raw” whereas in clay soil it will compound. This means that this particular spray will not be contained in one area but will leach out into the surrounds.