A letter by Rose Wanchap, mother, grandmother and concerned citizen
Five years later we are still fighting the fight to protect our land from the proliferation of pesticides. What will it take to convince those in charge of public land of the sin they commit to our health and the well being of the environment when they order the use of toxic chemicals. Surely poisoning the land and all that walks, crawls, hops, flies, swims upon it in the name of conservation is a complete contradiction.
You would have to be blind Freddy not to be aware of the growing body of information out there now on the dangers of pesticide use. (see the box below). I am angry, yes I am very angry. I am not going to dumb down this letter to avoid offending anyone. A small group of hardy workers who have toiled in the field working to eradicate the Bitou bush without the use of chemicals have been dealt a blow by those who should know better.
It is not just about clearing a few hectares of land. It is a principle that must be applied shire wide indeed planet wide if we are to survive as a species. On the 11th of June 2009 after a heated campaign by protestors Council made a resolution to not aerial spray herbicides to eradicate the Bitou bush in council managed parks and dunes. Though I must point out we had no luck with halting the State Government DECC from continuing aerial spraying State managed land. Council provided an opportunity for the community to manage land in the Brunswick Heads area south of the Surf club. The Byron Shire Chemical Free Land Care group was formed and they have achieved amazing things over the past 2 years. Never was so much owed by so many to so few. The group have done all and more than what they have said they would do proving that it is possible to eradicate the Bitou bush safely and efficiently free of chemicals. They have maintained a steady push forward to meet the requirements of council who have not resumed aerial spraying. A great achievement in itself and very appreciated. This small group are heroes in my eyes. The many thousands of people who would be affected by spray drift of chemicals including my family owe a great debt of gratitude to them.
I think it is time land care workers, volunteers, paid workers, home gardeners, councilors and council staff members sat up and took notice of the enormous quantities of pesticides they are using and ordering to be used in and around the shire. Destroying our eco system is paramount to destroying the home we live in. Byron Shire could be the first shire to become a Chemical Free Green Shire.
National Toxics Network Inc. Human exposure to pesticides can occur as a result of inhalation, skin absorption and ingestion of pesticides. Acute short-term health symptoms can occur a few minutes to a few days after being exposed to pesticides. Chronic long-term health problems can result from both a single high-dose exposure to pesticides and from exposure over a long period of time even when exposure levels are low. Some conditions include Parkinson’s disease, Leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s, ADDH, and Autism.