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Play it safe with sprays

MEDIA RELEASE


Play it safe with sprays
For immediate release: Tuesday 25 July 2006

Bay of Plenty orchardists and contract sprayers are urged to play it safe with sprays again this season.

Environment Bay of Plenty principal compliance officer Steve Pickles says spraydrift can cause problems for neighbours if people don’t do the job properly.

Mr Pickles says the spraydrift issue is often in the limelight at this time of year, when sprays are being used to promote kiwifruit budding.

Last year, the regional council received very few complaints, which was fantastic, Mr Pickles adds. “We’d really like to see the same again this season,” he adds. “Most orchardists are being very careful to follow the rules with their spraying. That includes telling their neighbours when they plan to spray.”

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”. Other legislation requires people spraying certain agrichemicals to be “approved handlers”. For this, they must complete a training course, such as Growsafe.

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 when there is a light breeze blowing away from sensitive areas and only after the neighbours have been notified. Sprayers must follow the recommendations set out in the New Zealand Standard for Application of Agrichemicals.

A comprehensive booklet called “A guide to applying agrichemicals – responsibilities of applicators” can help sprayers make sure they are following correct and safe practices. The recently revamped booklet, produced by Environment Bay of Plenty, lists factors to consider when spraying and details the responsibilities of applicators under the Bay of Plenty Regional Air Plan.

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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