Chemical sprayed near schoolkids
Christchurch City Council contractors in protective clothing and masks sprayed weed killer as young children walked past on their way to school.
Direct contact with the spray used – Bio Weed-Blast – can cause irritation to skin and eyes.
The Christchurch City Council head of parks, Andrew Rutledge, acknowledged the ‘‘concerns that have been raised’’ and said: ‘‘We are working with our contractor to consider rescheduling the spraying activities.’’
Cloe Jones said the Monday morning incident at Pinehurst Reserve, which borders Russley Primary School, was ‘‘appalling’’.
‘‘The spray smell was so strong that kids were dry-retching and holding their noses,’’ she said.
Jones said ‘‘easily 100 people’’ walked through the park while spraying occurred.
One young boy got the spray in his face as he rode past on a scooter.
‘‘I’ve got my 6-month-old baby daughter crying in a pram, my 5-year-old has an immune disorder, and the council are spraying them with who knows what as they try to go to school,’’ Jones said.
‘‘Why are they even spraying weed killer in the rain at 8.30am when kids are walking to school, can’t they wait?’’
Rachel MacClure said concerned parents wanted to know what was being sprayed but the contractors would not answer their questions.
Contractors placed signs in the park indicating spraying was taking place but the school was not informed.
Russley School deputy principal Pam Stretch said: ‘‘The school was not informed that spraying would be happening nearby, in an area and at a time when children would be travelling to school. It is concerning if this is the case.’’
At the park, council contractors were photographed filling their spray backpacks from a container of Bio-Safe from AGPRO.
A type of fatty acid, it has a hazchem code of 2XE and a label warning: ‘‘Keep away from children’’.
Rutledge said the containers no longer contained Bio-Safe and were being reused to carry water.
‘‘The labels should have been removed,’’ he said.
Rutledge said at Pinehurst Reserve, contractors used plant-based product Kiwi Care Bio-Weed Blast. ‘‘We are in conversations with the contractor to ensure that the correct procedures are followed, as health and safety is paramount,’’ he said.
‘‘All spray products are sourced in the form of a concentrate and diluted according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
‘‘The manufacturers’ advice is that Bio Weed-Blast could cause an irritation if it was to come into direct contact with the skin or eyes. Anyone with health concerns should contact a medical professional.’’
Cloe Jones is angry that her two children – including a 6-month-old baby – were exposed to weedkiller chemicals and wants to know why the council were ‘‘spraying kids with weed killer’’.