Although the jury is split about the dangers posed by glyphosate based weed killers, there is sufficient evidence to justify a precautionary ban on their use, until we know for certain what dangers this substance actually poses to humans and animals and how it may damage the world’s fragile biodiversity. What better place to begin a campaign to push for that ban than here in Thanet and the rest of Kent which is after all the Garden of England.
Excluding its widespread agricultural application the largest users of glyphosate weedkiller in Kent are our 14 local councils. Earlier this year I asked each of them whether they will be using this product to control weeds during the 2023/ 24 municipal year. To my great surprise all bar one said they that the will.
The councils using glyphosate also told me that they would be using this potentially toxic substance to control weeds in parks, open spaces, car parks, cemeteries, sports grounds, and other council owned properties. Kent County Council and Medway Council will also be using glyphosate to kill weeds on highways and roads across the county.
The scale of its application by councils across Kent is nothing less than a glyphosate tsunami. Literally hundreds of thousands of litres of a substance which many experts believe can cause cancer in humans, harm other animals, and threaten biodiversity are being sprayed across the county by local authorities.
Ironically, its these organisations who are supposed to be responsible for the health and wellbeing of their citizens and for developing safe, sustainable, environments. I don’t think so.
Even if the world of science has divided opnions about the safety of glyphosate use it would be foolish and irresponsible in the extreme not to have a precautionary ban now, rather than risk leaving our children and grandchildren and the animals and plants we share the planet with a toxic legacy of massive proportions.
You only need to look at the scientific controversies about smoking 50 years ago to see the consequence of not taking precautionary action – millions, if not billions, of unnecessary and premature deaths. This should be a lesson.
There are many tried and tested non-pesticide methods to kill weeds. If indeed weeds needs to be killed or controlled at all or as often. According to the campaign group Pesticide Action Network (UK) many parish, town, district, and unitary councils are adopting bans on the use of glyphosate or other chemical based weedkillers, so why not in Kent?
Contact your parish, town, district, or county councillors and ask them to put forward motions at meetings calling for their council to ban the use of glyphosate or other chemical based weeds killers.
I will be writing more about glyphosate use in Kent in the near future. Its much bigger than I imagined and for the sake of our futures it must be banned.
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