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Byron Shire
December 2, 2021

Towards chemical-free public spaces

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A disappointed dog

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In response to Dave Rawlins’s letter ‘Learn about low-chem regen’, Echonetdaily, November 18:

The dangers to human health and the environment of pesticide (including herbicide) use are well recognised internationally.

The European Union framework directive (Directive 2009/128/EC) sets rules for the sustainable use of pesticides to reduce the risks and impacts of pesticide on people’s health and the environment.

It notes, ‘In… places such as public parks and gardens, sports and recreation grounds, school grounds and children’s playgrounds, and in the close vicinity of healthcare facilities, the risks from exposure to pesticides are high.’ It recommends, in these areas, the use of pesticides should be minimised or prohibited.

Many EU municipalities have moved towards restricting or banning pesticides in public places independent of their national legislation. For example, a 2002 inventory in Denmark found that 34 per cent of municipalities (92) no longer used pesticides.

In Canada, nine out of 10 provinces and over 170 municipalities restrict or ban the use of pesticides in public spaces, in some cases extending this to schools, creches, hospitals, etc – particularly anywhere where children are likely to be.

As a result of strong regulation elsewhere, technological innovation has been high. One of the technologies frequently used, steam weeding, has been successfully developed by an Australian firm, Weedtechnics. Leichhardt Council controls weeds in parks and streets by this means.

Let us support innovation by our local industries as well as protecting the health of our children.

Ellen White, Georgica

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