Pesticide Use On Public Property

By Gerda Peachey. Should the use of pesticides be banned from all public school grounds?’ is the question of the week in the Abbotsford News.

In so few words it is difficult to process the issue, or make an informed response, but as a starting point, at least it raises the question and gets us thinking about kids and pesticides.

So even though the brevity of the question does not allow for a more thoughtful analysis I hope people will give it some thought and respond to the poll question.

Assuming that ‘grounds’ refers to the outside only, and assuming the word ‘pesticides’ in this context refers only to ‘herbicides’, I think the answer is obvious.

We can easily keep school grounds neat and tidy and safe for children by mowing the lawns and using a weed-eater on the edges. It is not at all hard to maintain school grounds without resorting to the use of herbicides. The manual method might entail a few more hours paid out to workers, but that work can be sub-contracted so that mowing grass does not have to be done at top union wages.

I used the silent slideshare as a backdrop to a 10 minute delegation I did to both the Abbotsford Council and to the Abbotsford Board of Education last year.

The City said they would not consider reviewing their use of ‘cosmetic pesticides’ on parks and public grounds, because they followed the lead of the provincial government. Premier Clark spoke with certainty about reducing cosmetic pesticides, but seems to have back-pedalled that to a non-issue now.

The school board, on the other hand, made some admirable decisions to try some alternative things, and experiment with various options. One of their proposals was to survey all the parents of District 34. Good for them.

So now over to you. Hope you’ll give this some thought as well.

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