Garden Sprays and Water Pollution

monarch.jpgFriends of the Earth has called for people to reconsider their use of pesticides in their gardens, due to offsite impacts of such spraying. Friends of the Earth is also calling for restrictions on the herbicide Simazine.

Friends of the Earth spokesperson Anthony Amis said, “In recent years a number of pesticides have been detected in urban waterways. It is likely that a proportion of this pollution is coming from domestic use of pesticides in gardens and around the home.

"Special attention needs to be directed at the herbicide Simazine, which is the most commonly detected urban pesticide. In terms of home gardens, Simazine is likely to be applied as a once a year weedicide for driveways and paths. Simazine is residual meaning that it remains active for some months. Heavy rainfall, or even hosing down a few days after spraying can see Simazine residues wash into gutters where it can pollute stormwater” Mr Amis said.

Once in the stormwater, pesticide residues can travel many kilometres to end up in wetlands, or waterways. Some attach themselves to soil particles and can be a problem for years. The food chain can be impacted. Pollution also complicates the recycling of stormwater” Mr Amis added.

Other pesticides of concern include MCPA, which has recently been detected in Adelaide’s drinking water, Imidacloprid a commonly used insecticide which may also be impacting on bee populations, Triclopyr, commonly used on blackberries and the herbicides Pirimicarb and Dicamba. A host of other pesticides detected throughout Melbourne are likely to be the result of pollution associated with cropping and spraying of industrial sites.

The herbicide Simazine, Atrazine and its metabolite Deisopropyl Atrazine accounted for ~41% of detections in the Melbourne region. Atrazine is classed as a Schedule 7 Poison meaning only permit holders can use Atrazine, whereas Simazine, which is closely related to Atrazine can be bought over the counter.

Friends of the Earth is calling on the Andrews Government to make Simazine a Restricted Use Chemical which in turn would mean that it would not be available for use around homes. Friends of the Earth is also calling on residents and local government authorities to cease the use of pesticides.


For more information contact Anthony Amis 0425 841 564