Richmond has learned there are trade-offs to banning all pesticide-use in weed abatement activities on city properties.
One year after Richmond City Council installed the ban, sparing the community from exposure to the widely-used herbicide glyphosate, city groundskeepers say they are struggling to keep up with ever-sprouting weeds in public spaces.
Public Works Director Yader presented images at Tuesday’s council meeting of overgrown public right-of-ways no longer controlled by pesticides. The city is also having a difficult time tending to youth sports fields ahead of the summer season, Yader said, adding that at least four additional groundskeepers are needed to make up for what the use of pesticides can accomplish.
And while the groundskeepers don’t have to breathe in potentially cancer-causing chemicals, Yader added, they suffer from back problems from pulling weeds and have to spend more time working amid dangerous traffic.
Despite the hardships, the majority on City Council did not appear intent on reinstating pesticide use. They cite emerging research on glyphosate, such as a finding last year by the World Health Organization (WHO) that the chemical is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The finding was vehemently disputed by industry leaders. The issue on whether glyphosate causes cancer is currently being debated in Europe, where the European Union must decide whether to continue to extend the approval of its use.
Councilmember Nat Bates believes the city should bring pesticides back, saying the city is beginning to look shabby, which creates a lower quality of life for residents. He added that he doesn’t believe Richmond, which is trying to close an $8 million budget deficit, can afford to pioneer the issue. Richmond is one of only a few jurisdictions in California to have implemented a ban, according to city staff.
Well I’ve been working a lot at this time of year and I started this site up to blow off some steam but over the last 2 weeks I haven’t been able to write a post or review a few beers. I have now been put back to a sane work pace of less than 60 hours a week and I will be posting a bunch on Wednesday.
Industry and government must adjust to new findings, but policies should not be based on the latest Internet trend
By Cam Dahl
Published: January 25, 2016
What does “science based” mean? For both government policy and industry best practice, science based should mean that practices are based on rigorous scientific studies. Policies and regulations that veer off the science-based path put at risk the tools that make modern agriculture possible. So do production practices that do not rigorously follow scientifically developed guidelines.
But scientific review can sometimes be messy. Scientific consensus can shift and the “right” answer can change over time as new information becomes available. New research can disprove past points of view that were once thought to be valid.
What does this mean for policy-makers and the development of industry best management practices? Practically, this means that both industry and government must be willing to adjust practices and policies when new evidence comes to light.
For example, frequent summerfallow was once the common practice on the North American prairies. This practice has adjusted as new research and agriculture tools became available. The willingness of farmers to adapt has benefited the environment and improved economic returns.
By Health Canada
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) invites the public to submit written comments on the Special Review of atrazine: Proposed Decision for Consultation. Re-evaluation Note REV2015-11 is a consultation document.
The PMRA will consider the comments received before making a final decision on Special Review of atrazine.
How to Get Involved
This consultation is open for comment from 15 December 2015 to 29 January 2016 (45 calendar days). Open the “Consultation Summary” link below to access the document.