Byron Shire Council (BSC) has hastened to assure residents the chemical 2,4-D is not used as part of its weed- and pest-control management.
Monday’s Four Corners program revealed many 2,4-D products on sale in Australia contained the dangerous chemical dioxin, the active ingredient in the banned herbicide Agent Orange.
BSC’s team leader natural environment, Angus Underwood, said it is not used as part of the bush regeneration programs. Council’s parks superintendent, Andy Erskine, also confirmed that it is not used on roadside vegetation, or sporting fields and parks.
And mayor Simon Richardson has indicated he supports the ending of all Council roadside spraying programs within 12 months.
‘We need to revisit the debate and see if we can’t move even further away from chemical usage in the shire,’ he said.
He added that at the next Council meeting, on 8 August, he will move a motion to consider stopping chemical use on Council-owned and -managed land.
Currently Byron Shire Council staff use the chemical glyphosate (Roundup) for weed management and are licensed to use the chemical in areas of threatened or endangered ecological communities. Metsulfuron methyl is also used for certain weeds and others for selective control of turf weeds among lawn surfaces.
Mr Underwood said the council maintains a register for chemical-sensitive residents and organic growers.
Residents wishing to be placed on the register should phone 6685 9319 for an application form. Details are kept confidential and only given to authorised spraying contractors.
As an example of the register’s usage, National Parks requested details from the register to notify residents regarding their upcoming aerial spraying for bitou bush.
Mr Underwood reminded residents that the aerial spraying is not conducted by Council and is a National Parks program.
For more information on the National Parks spraying, residents should contact Richmond River area manager on 6627 0200 or Clarence North area manager on 6641 1500.