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Council debates dangers of chemical weed-killer

Full Council will debate the use of a chemical weed-killer in Bristol’s streets and parks on Tuesday 15th March.  Over 6,500 people signed a petition calling for Bristol to stop spraying glyphosate based weed-killer such as ‘Roundup’ on the streets and parks of Bristol, forcing a debate in next week’s council meeting. 

A year ago, the World Health Organisation found that glyphosate, which is found in most weed-killers is a probable human carcinogen. Since then many countries have restricted the use or banned glyphosate including the Netherlands, France, Bermuda and Sri Lanka, with Brazil, Germany and Argentina also considering bans.

Zaheer Mamon, who started the petition, said:

“I am deeply concerned that Bristol City Council continue to use chemicals such as Roundup on our streets and parks when glyphosates have been banned in so many other countries and cities around the world due to health concerns. I started the petition to raise awareness of this issue and to allow local residents to send the message loud and clear that this spraying in our public spaces has to stop with immediate effect and with no compromise.”

“Our case has been strengthened by the fact that Glastonbury Town Council have recently set the precedent of banning glyphosates in our back yard. If Bristol is to have any credibility as a 'green' city it must take action and follow Glastonbury's lead without delay.”

Green Councillor for Ashley, Gus Hoyt said:

“I have been raising my concerns with the council about their use of glyphosate in Bristol for over two years, including calling on the Mayor for full transparency on how much glyphosate is currently used by the Council and calling for alternatives to be trialled.”

“Other councils such as Glastonbury have shown that it is perfectly possible to ban glyphosate and use alternative methods to control weeds*. I am pleased that the Council has taken on my suggestion of doing a ward trial for alternatives to glyphosate, but am concerned that the trial may use vinegar to control weeds, rather than Foamstream which has been successfully used by other authorities. We need to ban glyphosate from our streets and parks across the city as soon as possible, so it is important to use the most effective alternative to this chemical.” 

Harriet Williams, of the Pesticide Safe Bristol Alliance said:

“The impacts of glyphosate use are very real - we are hearing from people whose pets have been poisoned and from parents concerned about sprays contaminating their children's clothes and getting into their mouths.”

“Thanks to our FOI request, we know that the Council or its contractors are applying glyphosate to an area of the city equivalent to 3,600 football pitches. But Bristolians do not want our city's streets, pavements and parks to be sprayed with toxic weed killers. Our opinion survey shows that nine out of ten residents support a complete ban on such chemicals, or heavy restrictions on their use. We urge the Council to listen to public opinion and take city-wide action to eliminate this unnecessary health risk."

Notes

*The only exception being for highly invasive species such as Japanese knotweed.
 Image © Flickr/Michelle Tribe

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