Friday, July 15, 2011

Nay to spray - Editorial -The St. John’s Telegram

July 15, 2011

The St. John’s Telegram

Nay to spray - Editorial

You can picture Andy Wells shuffling around his yard, a tank of weedkiller strapped to his back, grunting and growling through his beard.

On Thursday, Environment Minister Ross Wiseman announced the province plans to ban the sale and use of pesticides for cosmetic lawn care.

Wells waged war against the anti-pesticide lobby during his tenure as mayor of St. John’s, even contradicting some of the city’s own guidelines for residents.

And he unfailingly snapped back whenever The Telegram called him on it.

“Your Cheers & Jeers column never misses an opportunity to get the facts wrong,” he snorted in a September 2007 letter after one such editorial barb.

After listing a series of reports cited by Health Canada, he ended on another snide note: “I could go on, but clearly it is pointless. Scientific illiteracy is the order of the day.”

Scientific accuracy is indeed a difficult goal in this day of orchestrated infoganda. One can find numerous claims and studies on the Internet to confuse almost any issue. Journalists, politicians and even scientists themselves are often hard-pressed to come up with a straight answer.

The possible health dangers of pesticides have been foggy, at best, for decades. But increasingly, the picture has cleared. Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia all have implemented provincewide bans on cosmetic use, as have numerous individual municipalities across Canada.

As with other jurisdictions, public opinion polls have done much to move an otherwise glacial political will. The Newfoundland government has waffled on the issue for years.

Still, Wiseman insists all sides of the issue were taken into account. That would obviously include lawn-care companies and manufacturers who have a financial stake in pesticides.

“Our government has thoroughly examined all aspects of the pesticides debate, using that information to inform our decision to ban products used for cosmetic lawn care purposes in Newfoundland and Labrador,” he said.

The ban covers the following chemicals: carbaryl, 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid), mecoprop, dicamba, and MCPA (2-methyl-4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid).

But it won’t come into effect until 2012, which means those determined to defy it have close to a year to stockpile their poison.

The remaining question, therefore, is how effective the ban will be.

There is no indication of possible penalties, and the only reference to enforcement is a promise to “increase inspections of pesticide storage and treatment areas to ensure companies are using products that have been approved for use.”

Those details definitely need to be worked out.

But for now, at least, most homeowners in this province can breathe a big sigh of relief. Best Blogger Tips
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St. John's Daily Spray Advisory

My Past Articles

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