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Ten tonnes of toxins on our road sides

29 March 2000

Ten tonnes of toxins on our road sides

Green Party Health and Transport spokesperson Sue Kedgley today said it was unacceptable that Transit New Zealand sprays more than ten tonnes of toxic and environmentally destructive chemical pesticides alongside our roads each year.

Transit should immediately introduce a pesticide reduction programme to significantly reduce the amount and toxicity of the herbicides it uses on our roadsides, Ms Kedgley said.

According to information provided by the Minister of Transport, Transit NZ sprays nearly 12,000 kilograms of chemical herbicides along our roadsides. It uses nine different chemical herbicides, including amitrole, a herbicide that is classified by the American Environmental Protection Agency as a probable human carcinogen; simazine, a persistent herbicide which contaminates groundwater and which is classified as a possible human carcinogen; and nearly one tonne of glyphosate, which has been linked with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in two recent Swedish studies.

"There is no need for Transit to use some of these controversial and toxic herbicides," Ms Kedgley said. " It should follow the lead of the Auckland City Council which reduced the amount of chemical herbicides it sprays on roadsides by 95 per cent as a result of a pesticide reduction policy."

The Auckland City Council's recently adopted policy involves using natural coconut oil based pesticides, hot water and mechanical methods and, where there is no other alternative, the less toxic chemicals.

Ends

Sue Kedgley MP: 04 470 6717, 025 270 9088 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 110 1133

Sue Kedgley asked a question in Parliament this afternoon on this subject. Copies of the question and answer available on request.


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