Boro to end use of pesticides in parks
BY KENNY WALTER Staff Writer
TINTON FALLS — After considering the issue over the summer, the Tinton Falls Borough Council has decided to reduce the use of pesticides on borough-owned properties.
The council passed a resolution eliminating the use of pesticides on public properties at the Oct. 5 meeting, and Jane Nogaki, programcoordinator for the New Jersey Environmental Federation (NJEF), credited the borough for doing so.
“We are working to spread this idea from town to town, that municipal parks can be pesticide free zones,” she said. “I commend Tinton Falls’ commitment to protecting parks and open spaces and reducing its pesticide use.”
Nogaki said 40 municipalities across the state have passed similar resolutions. Some of the local municipalities that have passed resolutions include Oceanport, Red Bank, Ocean Township, Keyport, Hazlet, Asbury Park, Colts Neck and Neptune.
According to the resolution, “The Borough will designate certain public properties such as portions of community parks as Pesticide Free Zones.”
The resolution also states that exceptions may be made in cases where the health, safety and welfare of the community is threatened, where no reasonable alternative is available and the prohibition of the use of pesticides would create the potential for allowing a significant adverse impact on the borough or the residents.
Nogaki agreed with the way the resolution was written.
“We think that where young children play, there should be no chemical pesticides applied,” she said, “with the exception of if there is some kind of emergency that would require pesticides.
“There would be a sign posted to that effect so that people who are pregnant or have small children could avoid that area while that pesticide is applied,” she added.
She suggested that the borough put up signs at every borough property that is pesticide-free.
Nogaki said that there have been advances made so that chemical pesticides are no longer necessary.
“In general, we are finding that people could have quality lawn care and grounds maintenance without the use of chemical pesticides,” she said. “There are a lot of alternatives available.”
She also spoke about the risks resulting from the use of pesticides.
“These chemical pesticides have health risks associated with them, and they are traveling into groundwater and into streams, rivers, bays and oceans,” Nogaki said. “The less exposurewe have to a toxic chemical, the better.”
According to a press release from Nogaki, Councilman Andrew Mayer said that “reducing non-point source pollution from toxic pesticides to waterways and protecting public health are key priorities for the township, and this policy will be a step toward pollution prevention.”
Nogaki also said the closure of Fort Monmouth will expose the neighboring towns to more exposure to chemicals.
“That is going to take a long time, getting that renovated and cleaned, and we know that the legacy of toxic chemicals in our environment, particularly in New Jersey, is pretty heavy,” she said. “Anywhere we can lower the burden of toxic exposure is time well spent.”
Environmental Commission member Jeff King described the work it took to get the resolution passed.
“The environmental commission of the borough has worked with council and administration and the department of public works,” he said. “We have worked very hard discussing this and trying to fine-tune it to make the borough a better place for kids and families and pets and everyone.
“We are very thankful that we were able to come together and force this resolution,” he added.
Mayer said that the borough’s residents could also reduce pesticides on their properties.
“We need residents to do their part also in reducing pesticides in our environment and keeping our air, water and land safe from toxic chemicals,” Mayer said. “Residents can participate by making their own property a pesticidefree zone.”
Nogaki also said that residents can reduce pesticides by hand-pulling weeds, mowing at a height of 3 inches to shade out weeds, mulching areas properly to prevent weeds, planting native plants that don’t develop insect problems, and reducing or eliminating lawns to cut down on the need for watering, fertilizing and mowing.
The New Jersey Environmental Federation is a nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization whose mission is to protect natural resources and clean up pollution. NJEF is the New Jersey chapter of Clean Water Action. NJEF receives research and educational support from the Clean Water Fund (CWF), a national nonprofit organization. For more information, visit www.cleanwateraction. org/njef or www.cleanwaterfund.org.