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Drop the aerial spraying

28 August 2006

Drop the aerial spraying

Waitakere City should live up to its reputation as an Eco-City and abandon a proposal to aerially spray Roundup on willows in an ecologically sensitive wetland near Te Henga Beach, Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says. Officials at the Waitakere City Council proposed aerially spraying the area with Roundup in a report to the City Development Committee on 6 July.

The Council is presently consulting on the proposal and will make a final decision whether to go ahead with the plan shortly. "I appeal to the Waitakere City Mayor and Councillors to exercise ecological wisdom and abandon the proposal in favour of more creative, environmentally-sensitive solutions that do not jeopardise the health of the community or the native flora and fauna in the Te Henga wetlands area," Ms Kedgley says.

"After Waitakere's recent experiences with aerial spraying for the Painted Apple Moth, I am amazed that officials have come up with such a bizarre proposal. Despite Government assurances that the spray used in the Painted Apple Moth programme was safe, many local residents became ill, as the Council is well aware."

"Roundup is even more toxic than Foray 4B, and would likely damage native plants as well willows, and pose health risks to nearby residents. "I am concerned that the Waitakere City Mayor and Councillors have been misinformed by council officials who claim that Roundup is of 'extremely low mammalian toxicity'; 'completely breaks down into natural products on contact with soil or water' and 'has been shown not to affect fish, invertebrates or birds'.

"In fact, Roundup does not completely break down into natural products on contact with soil or water. It is persistent in the soil and takes more than three months to break down, while one of its breakdown products itself takes more than two years to break down.

"The active ingredient of Roundup, glyphosate, has been found to cause mortality and malformations in tadpoles and to be harmful to fish, and recent epidemiological studies have linked human exposure to glyphosate, with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, miscarriages and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. "I therefore appeal to the Council to adopt a precautionary approach and minimise human exposure to the herbicide by not aerially spraying in areas where people can be exposed to it," Ms Kedgley says.


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