Group ques­tions prov­ince’s use of her­bi­cide

The Compass - - ORTHTE - BY COLINMACLEAN TC ME­DIA

A group that led the charge against cos­metic pes­ti­cides in this prov­ince is now call­ing into ques­tion the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment’s use of some of those same com­pounds.

Specif­i­cally, a her­bi­cide called Tor­don 101. It con­tains the in­gre­di­ent 2, 4-D (2, 4-dichlorophe­noxy­acetic acid), which is one of five in­gre­di­ents the prov­ince an­nounced last year would be banned from cos­metic use. The ban came into ef­fect this spring.

The Coali­tion for Al­ter­na­tives to Pes­ti­cides (CAP-NL) praised the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment last year when it an­nounced its plans for the cos­metic pes­ti­cide ban.

Dr. Ian Simp­son, co-chair­man of CAP-NL, said last week he’s not sur­prised the prov­ince is con­tin­u­ing to use these chem­i­cals.

“I knew it would prob­a­bly be used wher­ever it ap­peared to gov­ern­ment to be cheaper. I think this is the mo­ti­va­tion,” said Simp­son. The prov­ince has been up­front about it, he said. The Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Con­ser­va­tion has made it clear in the past that the ban is not ap­pli­ca­ble to golf cour­ses, farms or forestry and road-re­lated us­age. These are con­sid­ered non-cos­metic.

The Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion and Works is cur­rently in the midst of spray­ing large quan­ti­ties of Tor­don 101 along the sides of swaths of pro­vin­cial roads.

The depart­ment uses the her­bi­cide to help keep the sides of the roads clear of veg­e­ta­tion.

A spokesman with the depart­ment told TC Me­dia last Tues­day spray­ing is the most ef­fi­cient op­tion.

“The spray­ing ac­tiv­ity is the best op­tion for pre­vent­ing road­side brush re­growth as it elim­i­nates brush for a pe­riod of years,” stated the spokesman in an email.

“This is valu­able, as clear road­sides im­prove sight­lines for driv­ers, which helps pro­mote over­all road safety and re­duce the num­ber of moose-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents.”

Cut­ting back the growth ev­ery year would be re­source heavy, he added.

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