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Saving Bees - Canada Urged To Do More to Ban Pesticides

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Two regions, France and Marinduque (A province in the Philippines) have banned Neonicotinoids, a neurotoxic and water soluble insecticide that are generally used for the treatment of crops. This pesticide infiltrates plants and permeates their tissues, while its components pollute the surrounding environment, killing both pests and vital pollinators alike. This has led to a call by international scientists for more countries to place a ban on the pesticide.

The international Task Force for Systemic Pesticides met in Paris this week to “discuss evidence that neonicotinoids pose an unacceptable risk to bees, butterflies and other biodiversity.”

“We need all governments, from the smallest to the most powerful, to restrict the use of neonicotinoids, which are used in agriculture worldwide,” Jean Marc Bonmatin, an environmental chemist with the French government and expert on neonicotinoids, said in a Thursday news release quoted in the National Observer.

The insecticide has been proved to cause significant harm to such creatures as bees, butterflies and birds.

“Banning neonicotinoids by law was a democratic success,” said Delphine Batho, an member of the French National Assembly for the District of Deux-Sèvres and France’s former minister of ecology, sustainable development and energy, in a statement from the Task Force for Systemic Pesticides.

“While three neonics will similarly be outlawed in all 28 countries of the European Union, the French law goes further because it targets all five neonicotinoid pesticides that were used in France. The French Parliament has also voted recently to expand the ban to restrict all new pesticides that have the same mode of action as neonicotinoids.”

Marinduque happens to be a province where people raise butterfly for a living. Romulo Bacorro, vice governor of the province said in a statement this week “In Marinduque – the butterfly center of the world – raising butterflies is a major source of livelihood for local communities. We may be small, but we’re joining France in banning neonics to protect biodiversity, food security and the livelihoods of our people.”

The foregoing has led to calls requiring Canada to do more in the protection of its useful pollinators.

There is currently a case against Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency accusing the agency of not studying insecticides properly before approving them for commercial use. The case is due to be heard this fall.

“We have inherited an extremely biodiverse world from our parents and I think it is incumbent on us to pass on that same world undiminished to our children,” said Jeremy Kerr, an ecologist at the University of Ottawa.

“From my point of view, there's an important ethical obligation here. But there are also practical considerations that we really must not ignore. And among them is the fact that one out of three bites of food that we take relies directly or indirectly on the action of pollinators, so any sort of impact on pollinators is ultimately also an impact on ourselves, and we need to be taking that kind of effect very seriously.” He told National Observer.