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Playing it safe with sprays

MEDIA RELEASE

Playing it safe with sprays

For immediate release: Monday 29 August 2005

Kiwifruit orchardists and contract sprayers are urged to play it safe with sprays this season.
Agrichemical spraydrift is an ongoing issue that shifts into the limelight every autumn, when sprays are being used to promote kiwifruit budding, says Environment Bay of Plenty principal compliance officer Steve Pickles.

Last year, the council received more than 100 spray-related complaints, often from residents who had not been informed of a neighbour’s intention to spray. “They were very irate and with good reason. It’s the golden rule of spraying to let your neighbours know well in advance.”

Environment Bay of Plenty is responsible under the Resource Management Act for the control of spraying “so we need to make sure all agrichemicals are used correctly in an environmentally safe manner”.

Spraydrift can damage crops or plants that are not being targeted, can cause pollution, and may lead to health problems like skin irritations, nausea and nervous system breakdowns, depending on the type of chemical used and its concentration.

Mr Pickles says sprays should only be applied in gentle wind conditions and only after the neighbours have been notified. Sprayers must follow the recommendations set out in the Growsafe manual.
A comprehensive booklet called Application of Agrichemicals can help sprayers make sure they are following correct and safe practices. Produced by Environment Bay of Plenty, it lists factors to consider when spraying and details the responsibilities of applicators under the Bay of Plenty Regional Air Plan and GROWSAFE.

The booklet is available from regional council offices or by calling 0800 ENV BOP (368 267). It is also posted on www.envbop.govt.nz under Publications.

ENDS

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