The cavalier wide use and acceptance of industrial chemicals in the environment has started a cascade of adverse reactions in wildlife, plant microbes and humans.
The sustainable movement in land management is now calling for assessing the entire lifecycle of herbicides. Agricultural research has shown severe impacts on soil microbiology, especially in coastal soils mycorrhizal (fungal) association, critical to fragile health of coastal habitats.
While landcare groups struggle with underfunding, how then can NPWS justify aerial spraying with broad-spectrum herbicides? The poisons are designed to kill many types of plants and together with their surfactants can be devastating to canopy invertebrates. Detergents are widely used to kill insects. No research has ever been done by the NPWS on the effects of spraying on our butterflies, bees and the myriad of small creatures we don’t see.
Our ecosystems are not just trees. Aerial spraying (and drift) in the past has had dire consequences for intertidal life in the form of dead rock crabs and shellfish that were strewn along beaches. Does the need to eliminate a few bitou bushes warrant the danger and expense of such drastic actions?
It is urgent that we give the planet some breathing space and give serious consideration to less destructive practices in this ‘war on weeds’ and the rush to introduce GM foods.
In this the 21st century, we owe it our beautiful children to be more aware and responsible citizens – ethically, socially and environmentally.
Terry Hamill, Coorabell