The journal of Pesticide Action Network UK An international perspective on the health and environmental effects of pesticides Biannual
Pesticides News No 95 UK news
Integrated Pest Management
Pollinators and pesticides: latest developments
Pesticides on a plate – new PAN UK report on pesticide residues in food
Amenity spraying of pesticides – are the new regulations working
Capital Bee project working for a London wide pollinator strategy
18 Innovative weeding technology leading the way in non-toxic weed control
European regulation 7
CAP reform will not be able to reduce EU’s dependency on pesticides, but the battle is still only beginning
Neonicotinoid restrictions present a unique opportunity to introduce safer agro-ecological approaches to pest management
11 Tackling pesticide stockpiles in Tanzania
14 Agriculture diffuse source nitrate
residues: the case of soils of citrus orchards in Guzelyurt, Cyprus
16 The Organic Naturally Different Campaign
19 Putting your best foot forward
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: a long way to go before effective regulation
Pesticide Action Network UK Development House 56-64 Leonard Street London EC2A 4LT, UK Tel +44 (0)20 7065 0905 Fax +44 (0)20 7065 0907 Email email@example.com
www.pan-uk.org www.pan-international.org links to all PAN Regional Centres
An innovative hot foam weeding technology is leading the way in non-toxic weed control - see p18 Photo: Weedingtech
Pesticides News 95
As 2013 is heading to a close, the fate of bees and wild pollinators continues make headline news. The decision of the European Commission to introduce a two year moratorium on three bee-toxic neonicotinioid pesticides from next month is a welcome step in the right direction, but does not go far enough. In this issue we bring you news of the latest developments on this front, both at home and in Europe, and the challenges and opportunities this presents. In particular, we have a detailed article setting out why we believe the EC moratorium presents a unique opportunity to introduce safer agro-ecological approaches to pest management. And while still on bees, we also have news of Sustain’s Capital Bee project which is working for a London wide pollinator strategy, and promoting pollinator friendly practices throughout the capital. In other developments at home, PAN UK has recently published Pesticides on a Plate to provide UK consumers with authoritative information on pesticide residues in their food, while we also take a look at whether the new regulations on amenity spraying of pesticides are working, an innovative non-toxic weeding technology that is leading the way in nontoxic weed control, and the Organic Trade Board’s award winning Naturally Different Campaign. On the European front we have reports from our PAN Europe colleagues on whether recently announced reforms to the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy will bring about a greening of European Agriculture, as well as a look at PAN Europe’s joint campaign with the Health and Environment Alliance to introdude regulation of endocrine disrupting chemicals, which have been shown to disrupt the hormonal systems of both humans and wildlife. Looking further afield we have an assessment of the achievements and challenges facing the Africa Stockpiles Programme in clearing obsolete pesticides from the Tanzanian landscape. We also have a scholarly article seeking to address concerns about the environmental impact of nitrate pollution in the soils of citrus orchards in Cyprus. Oh, and we also have a special offer for Pesticides News readers from ethical footwear producers, Po-Zu. Online subscription Subscribers can now benefit from an online searchable version of Pesticides News (September 1993 to the current issue) with the following username and password (changed twice a year): Username: subscriber Password: carbaryl
Who’s who at Pesticide Action Network UK Dr Keith Tyrell Director Nick Mole Policy Officer Dr Stephanie Williamson Staff Scientist Angela Russ Programme Manager Paul Lievens Communications Manager Geremew Tereda Accounts
Articles published in Pesticides News promote health, safety, environmental commitment and alternatives to pesticides as well as debate. The authors’ views are not necessarily those of the Pesticide Action Network UK. Initials at the end of articles refer to staff contributions to Pesticides News. Abbreviations and acronyms used ACP Advisory Committee on Pesticides CRA Comparative Risk Assessment EA Environment Agency (UK) EC European Commission EPA Environmental Protection Agency (US) EU European Union FAO Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations FFS Farmer Field School FSA Food Standards Agency HSE Health and Safety Executive ILO International Labour Organisation IPM Integrated pest management LD50 lethal dose for 50% of population µg/kg parts per billion MRLs Maximum Residue Limits mg/l parts per million NGO Non government organisation OECD Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development OP Organophosphate (pesticide) PAN Pesticide Action Network PIC Prior Informed Consent PN Pesticides News UNEP United Nations Environment Programme
© Pesticide Action Network UK Please credit Pesticide Action Network UK when quoting articles
Pesticide Action Network – Regional Centres AFRICA PAN Africa BP 15938, Dakar-FANN Senegal Tel: (221) 33 825 4914 Fax: (221) 33 825 1443 firstname.lastname@example.org www.pan-afrique.org
ASIA/PACIFIC PAN Asia and the Pacific PO Box 1170 10850 Penang, Malaysia Tel: (60-4) 657 0271 Fax: (60-4) 658 3960 email@example.com www.panap.net
EUROPE PAN Europe Rue de la pépinière, 1 B - 1000 Brussels www.pan-europe.info PAN Germany Nernstweg 32 22765 Hamburg, Germany Tel: (49-40) 399 191022 Fax: (49-40) 390 7520 firstname.lastname@example.org www.pan-germany.org www.pan-international.org links to all PAN Regional Centres
LATIN AMERICA RAPAL (PAN Latin America) Coordinadora Regional Av. Providencia No365, depto. No41 Providencia, Santiago de Chile Tel/Fax: (56-2) 341 6742 email@example.com www.rap-al.org NORTH AMERICA PAN North America 49 Powell St., 5th Floor San Francisco, CA 94102, US Tel: (1-415) 981 1771 Fax: (1-415) 981 1991 firstname.lastname@example.org www.panna.org
ISSN 0967-6597 Printed on recycled paper
Pesticides News 95
Pollinators and pesticides: latest developments There have been some very important developments over recent months in regard to pesticides and the threat that they pose to bees and other pollinator species. PAN UK Policy Officer Nick Mole rounds up the latest developments. UK MPs support ban on neonicotinoids At the beginning of 2013 the UK Parliamentâ€™s Environment Audit Committee (EAC) convened an inquiry into the effects of pesticides on pollinators with a particular focus on neonicotinoid pesticides. The hearings took written and oral evidence from a range of experts including scientists and academics, industry, regulatory authorities and NGOs, including PAN UK. Following the taking of evidence, the EAC published a report of its findings and recommendations for action to be taken by the UK government. The final report came out very strongly in favour of banning the use of neonicotinoids because of the threat they pose to bees and pollinators. The report also strongly backed PAN UK calls for a new approach to farming along the lines of precautionary integrated pest management that uses pesticides only as a last resort. In short, the report backed up the views of the NGOs and concerned scientists and dismissed the assertions from the government, the National Farmers Union and industry that neonicotinoids are safe to use. However, in its response to the findings, the UK government dismissed the concerns and insisted on business as usual. The full body of evidence, both written and oral, is available to read at www.parliament.uk/business/committees/ committees-a-z/commonsselect/environmental-audit-committee. Europe imposes a two year suspension In May 2013 the European Commission (EC) took the step of issuing a new regulation that places a temporary two year suspension on three bee toxic neonicotinoid pesticides throughout the European Union (EU). This bold step by the commission has been warmly welcomed by PAN UK and others as a sensible, proportionate and precautionary measure in the fight to save our pollinators. The reasoning from the Commission is that this two year window will allow an opportunity to see whether restrictions on use will assist in halting the
decline in pollinator species. The suspension applies to all use of the three actives, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin on plants and cereals that are attractive to bees. It is not a complete ban and there are still other neonicotinoids that can be used. The new regulation also requires that home and garden products that contain the three actives can no longer be sold. The issuing of the regulation was not straight forward and saw much opposition from some EU Member States, most notably the UK government who were, and still are, opposed to any kind of restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids. Given the wealth of scientific evidence that points to the harm that neonicotinoids can do to bees and other pollinators, it is hard to comprehend the opposition of the UK government in any way other than that they are in the pocket of the chemical companies and prefer to put the profits of those companies before the wellbeing of the environment and people of the UK. 1 December 2013 will see the ban enter into force across the EU. In theory, the two years will be used to look at whether pollinator numbers increase as a result of not using neonicotinoids. There will be a review of the ban at the end of two years, with a decision on whether to make it permanent or to allow the neonicotinoids to be used again. However, it is the opinion of PAN UK and others that the time frame is not long enough to allow for any meaningful decision. There are a number of factors that are at play here: the persistence in soil and water of the banned neonicotinoids means that they can still be having effects on pollinators even if they have not been used; there is little data available about populations of wild pollinators to make any assessments on whether their numbers have increased significantly; and of course there are still other neonicotinoids that can be used as well as other pesticides that have the potential for harm. Industry opposition There is also ongoing opposition to the ban from the industry and others who would like to see an immediate reversal of
the ban or at the least to ensure that once it is reviewed in two years that they will be given the all clear. As usual, the tired old excuses for not imposing the ban were wheeled out and loudly trumpeted. Claims were made that a ban would lead to a reversion to older nastier chemistries there will be losses on yield and consequently income for farmers and that there is no evidence that neonicotinoids are playing a part in pollinator losses. None of which is accurate. In Italy where there has been a ban on neonicotinoid seed dressings they have seen no shortfall in productivity or profitability for farmers and there has been no increase in pests and diseases or any reversion to older pesticides. Far from being the end of the world, as the pesticide industry seems to think, PAN UK believes that this ban is a perfect opportunity to develop better, more sustainable, chemical free approaches to pest control. This will need support from many sectors including retailers and the government if farmers are going to be able to adopt new approaches. What we must not see is the burden being placed solely on the shoulders of our hard pressed farmers. Legal challenge At the time of going to press it has been announced that two pesticide manufacturers, Bayer and Syngenta, are to launch a legal challenge opposing the ban on one of the neonicotinoids, thiamethoxam. There are as yet no clear details of the substance of their appeal but it has been reported that they do not believe that the ban is justified as thiamethoxam has been wrongly linked to bee deaths and that the EC has wrongly applied the precautionary principle. This seems like desperate measures for the pesticide industry and there will be rigorous opposition to any claims that they make to justify nullifying the ban from PAN UK and other organisations across the EU.
Pesticides News 95
Pesticides on a Plate new PAN UK report on pesticide residues in food September 2013 saw the launch of a new Pesticide Action Network UK report on pesticide residues in food - Pesticides on a Plate – which analyses information provided by the UK Government’s Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food (PRiF) and presents it in an easily accessible fashion. Our research has found that there are worryingly high levels of pesticides present in the food that is purchased and consumed by residents of the United Kingdom. The report shows that as much as 46% of the food we consume contains residues of one or more pesticides. This figure has increased every year and has almost doubled since 2003 when it was just 25%. Some of the key findings of the report show that: • The food with the highest residues is soft citrus. 100% of samples contained residues and over 96% contained residues from more than one pesticide. • Soft citrus, oranges, pineapple and grapes all had pesticide residues exceeding the Government’s MRL (Maximum Residue Levels). • Flour is third on the list with over 96% containing pesticide residues, and 73% of bread samples tested contained residues. • 19% of samples contained more than one residue. Is there reason to be concerned about the level of pesticide residues in our food or are PAN UK simply scaremongering? In the first instance we would hope that the findings on our report are presented factually and accurately and not in an alarmist manner. Our intention is not to put anybody off eating fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy diet, but we do want to ensure that the public is able to make informed decisions about the food that they choose to eat. We also want to use this report to highlight some of the other issues relating to the use of pesticides that might not, on the face of it, be obvious to consumers but which are a direct consequence of the purchasing decisions that they make. What are pesticide residues and why is their presence on our food a concern?
Pesticides are used extensively in agriculture to protect crops from the potential damage that can been be caused
by pests, weeds and diseases. They have become ubiquitous globally as a simple method for protecting crops but as has been seen time and time again over the years what was once thought to be beneficial can often have unforeseen and harmful side effects. Pesticide residues are what is left on the end product after harvesting when the product is available to purchase. There are concerns about the presence of residues and as a result for many years the UK government has undertaken a regime of testing produce to determine the levels of residues that are present on the food that we eat. This testing is undertaken by the PRiF and they are looking mainly for excedences of the MRLs. The MRL is commonly thought to be a measure of safety and that residue levels that are below the given MRL for a particular pesticide are safe for consumption. However, this is a common misconception. The MRL is simply an indication that the pesticide in question has been used as it is meant to be used and according to what is known as ‘good agricultural practise’. The residue testing also reports on which pesticides are found on what produce and whether there are multiple pesticide residues on produce. They also test organic produce for residues. It is worth pointing out that only very rarely does organic produce show the presence of any residue and the vast majority of the time that this due to cross contamination from conventional agriculture or as a result of persistent pesticides present in the soil where organic produce is grown rather than because of pesticide use in organic production. Why is there concern about pesticide residues? In simple terms pesticides are poisons. They are designed to kill living organisms. However, not only do they work on those organisms at which they are targeted, but
they can and do also affect non-target organisms, including humans. It is estimated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that globally there are approximately 3 million cases of pesticide poisoning per year but these are in the main acute poisoning incidents that have occurred as a result of direct contact with a pesticide during spraying for example. What doesn’t get reported is the long term, or chronic effects, of ingesting pesticides as food residues as the effects of this are much harder to identify. Studies in the USA are starting to show that exposure to the chemicals in our environment, including pesticides, are having numerous effects on children and may cause problems such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism and developmental delays. With 19% of samples containing more than one residue, research is showing that ingesting multiple pesticide residues even below the arbitrary ‘safe’ limit can have magnified effects. Other research in the UK and elsewhere is showing that regular ingestion of very low levels of pesticides, levels far below the MRL, can have an amplified effect on the human body. And of growing concern is the potential for harm that is posed by cocktails of pesticides, ingestion of multiple residues of different pesticides. These combinations of pesticides have been shown to have unexpected effects and that the different pesticides can work together to create more harmful effects. At present this is an area that is poorly understood and is not accounted for in official risk assessments for pesticides due to the complexity of testing. However, when you consider that it is not just pesticides that we are ingesting on a daily basis but a whole range of different chemicals there is serious cause for concern. It is not only the end consumer that is
UK News potentially at risk from the pesticides that are used to grow food. Those that grow the food that we eat are often the most at risk from the ill effects of pesticide exposure. This is particularly true in developing nations where much of the produce that we eat is imported from. Encouraging retailers to work with their growers here and abroad to eliminate the use of the most hazardous pesticides and make significant overall reduction in pesticide use generally can have beneficial outcomes for many. And of course as has been seen with the recently highlighted issue of disappearing bees and pollinators along with other well documented negative impacts on the environment from the use of pesticides. Reducing their use, or better, stopping it altogether, can benefit our biodiversity to a huge extent. What can the Government, retailers and farmers do? The prevalent system of chemically intensive farming isn’t the only way. Our report aims to encourage everyone to support and promote the right of all of us as consumers to make an informed choice based on the best available research. • The UK Government can support organic producers and also promote Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which focuses on non-chemical pest and weed control methods • Retailers can support organic and IPM producers throughout their global supply chains. Farmers, with the support of government and retailers, could adopt organic and other non-chemical control methods wherever possible • The public can insist that food sellers do more to support organic and IPM growers and state that they do not want pesticide residues in their food • Key findings from the PRiF residue testing work should be advertised more clearly and accessibly to the public. PAN UK would also like to see the big retailers publishing their own residue testing data so everyone can see what is likely to be on the food in the shops they buy it from • Further research into how multiple pesticide residues interact to affect human health is needed immediately. Specifically there should be government funded research alongside independent research How can consumers reduce their exposure to pesticide residues? You can’t see, smell or taste pesticides on your fruit and vegetables, yet these food groups are a crucial part of a balanced diet. The good news is it’s possible to stick to your five-a-day and substantially reduce your exposure to pesticides by following these guidelines: • Buy organic fruit and vegetables where possible. If you are unable to switch to a completely organic diet, start with buying organic produce for those foods which you eat most often or which are most
Pesticides News 95
likely to contain pesticide residues. Up to date assessment of pesticide residue data is available on the PAN UK food web pages - www.pan-uk.org/food/best-worstfood-forpesticide-residues • Don’t eat the peel of non-organic citrus fruit – that is where the highest concentration of residues is. If you are using the peel, buy organic • Buy ugly fruit and vegetables! They taste the same and are just as nutritious. Many pesticides are used solely for cosmetic reasons, so consumers need to show they want imperfect produce • Organic food box schemes are increasingly available across the UK. These are a great way to ensure that your produce is pesticide free and supports local farming • Ask your local supermarket what they’re doing to reduce pesticide residues. Are they improving their labelling to give better information to consumers? Are they
supporting growers who are reducing or phasing out pesticides? • Grow your own organic fruit and vegetables and you’ll know that nothing toxic has been used on them. Even a window box can grow salad; a patio can grow tomatoes • Buy Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance labelled produce. Both help to reduce or eliminate some of the most hazardous pesticides, supporting farmer and worker health and encouraging farmers to shift to safer pest management • Support organisations such as PAN UK, Garden Organic, the Soil Association and Organic UK, who are campaigning to make real changes in the way food is produced. The Pesticides on a Plate report is available to download for free at:www.panuk.org/files/pesticides_on_a_plate_2013_ final.pdf
Amenity spraying of pesticides – are the new regulations working? In May 2012 the Chemicals Regulation Directorate issued a new regulatory update on how herbicides can be used in the amenity setting, in particular, the intent was to bring to an end the practise of blanket spraying of herbicides on hard surfaces. But has it worked? asks PAN UK Policy Officer Nick Mole. Information that has been supplied to the Pesticide Action Network UK by the public over the course of the 2013 spraying season would seem to indicate that the new regulation is being ignored and that best practise guidelines are not being adhered to by some in the amenity spraying industry. Blanket spraying of herbicides, often carried out by operators using hand lances whilst travelling on quad bikes along pavements, presents many potential problems that can pose problems for people and the environment. The main concern is that application by this method results in
overuse of herbicides when they are applied to areas that have no weeds and the subsequent run off of the herbicide into drains and water courses. The use of quad bikes on pavements with operatives simultaneously holding hand lances can mean that the operative does not have full control over the vehicle and this can present a hazard for the public who are also using the pavement. The new regulation should have ended this type of activity and voluntary best practise guidelines should also mean that responsible operators are not carrying out their activities in this manner.
Since the start of the 2013 amenity spraying season PAN UK has received photographic evidence and other reports of operators flouting the regulations and operating in clear breach of best practise guidelines from a number of areas around the UK. Perhaps the most notable incident was in Hove where a PAN UK staff member witnessed and documented first hand a quad bike with an operative using a hand lance indiscriminately spraying the pavement where there was no vegetation, failing to stop when in close proximity to a member of the public and travelling at far too fast a rate to be safe. All of this was in clear breach of both the regulation and guidelines for amenity spraying. The incident and the photographs have been submitted to the CRD to investigate, but as far as PAN UK is aware, there has as yet been no conclusion to the investigation. Apart from the issues outlined above this is a very real concern for the industry as a whole. If overuse of herbicides continues and they are found at unacceptable levels in water supplies there could be restrictions placed on their future use. This would be devastating for the amenity industry as a whole. So it is imperative that the industry itself takes action to ensure that there is no overuse of herbicides and that best practise is adhered to. Of course this is a complex issue and the fault does not lie solely with the industry. PAN UK has for many years been calling for greater oversight by those employing amenity spraying contractors of the work that is carried out on their behalf. It seems that all too often cost is the overarching factor and the competence or professionalism of the company employed is a secondary concern. PAN UK believes that it should be incumbent on employers, in the main local authorities, to ensure that the contract specification is of the highest standard, that the company employed is reputable with a proven track record of delivering work that strictly adheres to best practise and that the work itself is monitored to ensure that it is being carried out to the standards expected. Estimates from some quarters of the amenity spraying industry suggest that if blanket spraying is stopped the amount of herbicides applied could be reduced overnight by as much as 50%. This should of course be the goal but it is essential that all the various stakeholders work together to achieve this. PAN UK would welcome any reports of bad practise amenity spraying that you would like to send to us. Ideally we would appreciate it if you could supply details of where and when the event took place and if possible photographic evidence of the incident. Information can be sent in confidence to email@example.com. PAN UK will be compiling a dossier of reported incidents that will be presented to the relevant authorities to highlight shortcomings in the current regulatory approach and allow us to push for better controls and greater enforcement of existing legislation.
Pesticides News 95
Capital Bee project working for a London wide pollinator strategy For years the perception has been that beekeeping was the preserve of bearded retirees clad in traditional white suits and veils, which probably wasn’t too far off the mark. But if that’s still the image that comes to mind, Capital Bees’ Ross Compton tells us it’s time to think again. Over the last decade the pastime has seen a resurgence across the UK and most notably within our towns and cities. Hives have popped up on housing estates, allotments, in school grounds and even on the roofs of some of London’s most iconic buildings, including St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Royal Festival Hall. In 2011 Sustain’s Capital Bee project, funded by the Mayor for London, established 50 new community hives across the capital, equipping budding novices with the expertise to care for their new bees and involve others from their community. The project was a success but it’s unlikely to have escaped your notice that at the same time as this surge in interest in beekeeping, things aren’t quite right in the world of bees. With ever increasing frequency, we are confronted by headlines in the national media documenting the increasing struggle of beekeepers across the globe to maintain healthy hives. This news is made all the more concerning as conservationists also report on the devastating declines of wild bee populations. And it’s not just bees, we are witnessing significant declines across pollinator species. From moths to hoverflies, butterflies to beetles, bees have become the emblematic poster child of a trend that has seen two-thirds of pollinator species decreasing since the 1970s. The cause is likely to be complex and multifactorial – the loss of wildflower meadows, habitat fragmentation, pesticide use, climatic change and pests and disease
including the Varroa mite are all thought to play a role. Here in the UK one trend that we can point towards is the intensification of agriculture, as wildflower meadows have been replaced by ‘improved’ (artificially fertilised) grassland for grazing and as production has become increasing dependent on pesticides. The European Commission’s precautionary decision to introduce a two year partial moratorium on three neonicotinoid pesticides most closely associated to bee decline - achieved through the hard work of organisations including PAN - is a very welcome move. But this act alone will not be enough to turn the tide on pollinator decline. If we are to return populations to good health, the government must introduce a broad collection of polices that tackle the full range of stresses acting on declining populations. Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause campaign has achieved a valuable commitment from the UK government to develop a National Pollinator Strategy, to be published early 2014. This is a fantastic achievement. It’s important therefore that we take full advantage of the opportunity that the strategy presents and build on its recommendations at a local level. In London, Capital Bee has refocused its attentions and is supporting work to explore what the contribution of urban areas can be? The project coordinates the London Bee Forum, which brings together London campaigns and organisations to identify gaps in activities, share knowledge and coordinate future activities.
Photo: Graham White
European Regulation Cities are commonly perceived as being deserts for wildlife, but this is a misconception. London is internationally renowned as a green city. Parks and gardens cover a substantial area of the capital, with wildlife sites constituting 18% of the capital’s area and gardens 24%. The city’s railway lines, meadows and brownfield sites are all widely considered to be of considerable benefit to bees and other pollinators. Just how beneficial the urban environment is and indeed the potential for this benefit to be improved is the topic of investigation for the Urban Pollinator Project, being led by the University of Bristol in conjunction with Reading, Leeds and Edinburgh. The findings of this research will be important for informing the future direction of London activity. In November the London Bee Forum will be drawing together a broader group of organisations and stakeholders, including London landowners, to consider the development of a London wide pollinator strategy. So what kinds of activities could a London strategy include? Supporting larger public and private landowners to adopt bee friendly management practices will be key, and an important part of this will be the undertaking of an Integrated Pest Management approach. There are already examples of open spacemanagers doing their upmost to keep pesticide use to a minimum; however this is by no means true across the board. It will be essential that we work to facilitate the sharing of this best practice so that pollinator friendly practices can become the norm. It will also be important that such activities should not be undertaken in isolation but at a landscape scale. The conservation charity Buglife proposes strategically linking habitats within pollinator corridors known as B-Lines. The model, which is already been trialled in the rural context of Yorkshire, takes into account the migratory patterns of wildlife, ensuring that the greatest benefit can be had from habitat creation and improvement. The challenge of a London wide strategy will be in creating a vision of the capital that policy makers and the public can equally get behind. We must demonstrate there fore that in creating an urban environment in which wildlife can thrive, through the valuing of our open spaces we benefit not only biodiversity but people too. The campaign to turn the tide on pollinator decline has made some marked advances over the course of 2013 but there is still much to do. The plight of the humble honeybee has galvanised public support, opening up debates both publically and in parliament on how as a society we value nature. Whilst the momentum is on our side, we must take this opportunity to press forward on these issues and in London we hope to do just that.
You can find out more about the project at www.capitalbee.org
Pesticides News 95
CAP reform will not be able to reduce EU’s dependency on pesticides, but the battle is still only beginning The reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) agreed by the European Union in June this year presents a few opportunities for greening EU agriculture. But, according to PAN Europe, it will take a small revolution at national levels to convert this agreement into an agricultural model able to rely less on chemical inputs. The original proposed reform from the European Commission included the idea of encouraging farmers to take a more holistic approach to farming, and apply the basic rules of integrated production. Direct incentive payments to farmers would be conditional upon respecting three simple agronomic measures. And even though the original proposal did not propose crop rotation, it did propose integrated pest management (IPM) as the main component. This was much more ambitious than what has emerged, where the main component is the idea of introducing ecological focus areas. With the reform, all arable farmers with farms bigger than 15 hectares need to reserve 5% of their land for Ecological Focus Areas (EFA), starting in 2015. This might later be increased to 7%. But the problem from PAN Europe point of view is that there are loopholes allowing pesticides to be used on these EFAs. They seem to kill any idea of using buffer strips to attract natural predators, which could have been a way to start managing rather than killing all pests, in line with the principles of IPM. A list of EFA eligible areas has been agreed (e.g. fallow land, terraces, landscape features, buffer strips, agro forestry, etc.), but it remains to be seen if the EU and/or member states will have the courage to set rules regarding where to introduce EFAs in order to, among other goals, show how best to integrate these into the actual production in line with the philosophy of IPM. As something positive, ministers and the European Parliament did agree that Member
States will be obliged as part of the Farm Advisory Service (FAS) to give advice on the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive (SUD). Unfortunately, the Council and the European Parliament did not agree with the Commission’s idea of introducing the SUD and the WFD into the so called cross compliance rules, conditions to comply with to receive direct payments. Instead a joint statement was elaborated, in an addendum to the CAP agreement, stating: ‘The Council and the European Parliament invite the Commission to monitor the transposition and the implementation by the Member States of Directive 2000/60/EC of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy and Directive 2009/128/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides and, where appropriate, to come forward, once these Directives have been implemented in all Member States and the obligations directly applicable to farmers have been identified, with a legislative proposal amending this regulation with a view to including the relevant parts of these Directives in the system of cross-compliance."
Reproduced from PAN Europe Summer Newsletter 2013. For more information on PAN Europe visit www.pan-europe.info
Pesticides News 95
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: a long way to go before effective regulation PAN Europe and the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) are campaigning to regulate the use of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) which have been shown to disrupt the hormonal system of both humans and wildlife.
In recent months, the Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) definition has been a very important topic in Brussels Agenda and of course PAN Europe. Just before the beginning of the Pesticide Action Week, PAN Europe co-organized with HEAL on the 19 of March a Breakfast Press Briefing to give some more precise information to journalists on EDCs issues as well as challenges concerning the future EU regulation. It has also been the occasion to film a short Call for Action on EDCs, which can be viewed at www.disruptingfood.info. The day after, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released its opinion on endocrine disruption. Unfortunately this has been a big disappointment for PAN Europe. In fact, EFSA mainly adds confusion to the debate by introducing a new category of substances: the Endocrine Active Substances (EAS). The legal text agreed in the pesticide Regulation 1107/2009, doesn’t mention EAS and aims to ban pesticides with “Endocrine disrupting properties which may cause adverse effects”. In reality, EFSA didn’t propose criteria for endocrine disrupting properties and neither for adversity. What they did is add elements, which are not part of the Pesticide Regulation at all, mainly industry developed ideas on mode-ofaction, human relevance, and secondary effects. Furthermore, EFSA tries to undermine established EU rules by insisting on traditional risk assessment while there is a democratic decision to rule endocrines “hazard” based, meaning no exposure is allowed to humans and the environment. By trying to change the rules, EFSA also disregards science. The Endocrine Society, the professional organisation for endocrinologists, agreeing with the legal text, states that “having endocrine disrupting properties itself is a reliable predictor of adverse outcome”. From the PAN Europe point of view, introduction of a new category of Endocrine Active Substances (EAS) by EFSA makes no sense. Legal text defines endocrine disrupting properties, while European Commission’s Directorate General Environment is discussing endocrine disruptors. This will only
add confusion and is a counterproductive move from EFSA. EFSA should in fact define the legal text, within their remit of food, and develop criteria for chemicals with endocrine disrupting properties, but they didn’t. EFSA puts a lot of emphasis on an alleged capacity of the body to balance endocrine disruption and likes to exclude (minor) endocrine fluctuations for instance. Since reversibility is pure speculation this idea would open the door for industry to claim on a big scale that effects are reversible. The EFSA idea is also a very dangerous one since the most critical effects will be on the unborn where reversibility is very unlikely in the developing organism. EFSA however chooses to ignore this most crucial element in promoting the ’reversibility’ theory. While not developing criteria for the legal text, EFSA adds elements such as mode-ofaction, human relevance and critical effect, which are no part of the legal text and serve to disqualify an observed adverse outcome. Nevertheless, PAN Europe saw a few good points: attention for effects of endocrines disrupting chemicals during critical points of development and attention for effects of mixtures. In fact, EFSA proposes more study on these points. Therefore, because of this very disappointing opinion, PAN Europe decided to write a letter to the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, Tonio Borg , to explain our arguments and position. A position that is of course very different from industry as it has been clearly described by the journalist Henriette Jacobsen in her article Pesticide industry and NGO clash over EFSA definition of endocrine disruptors . The answer we received a few weeks later did not reassure us concerning the future of the EU’s EDC definition and future application in pesticides legislation. In fact, in its reply Commissioner Borg writes that EFSA has endorsed the definition of endocrine disruptors recognised at international level by the World Health Organization (WHO). Therefore, the Commission disagrees that
EFSA is not respecting EU law when setting the criteria for endocrine-disrupting properties.
Reproduced from PAN Europe Summer Newsletter 2013. For more information on PAN Europe visit www.pan-europe.info
Lisette van Vliet (HEAL) and Hans Muilerman (PAN Europe) at the launch of their campaign.
Raising awareness on EDCs In parallel with this active presence in the Brussels EDCs debate, PAN Europe together with its members and partners, has been continuing to raise consumers’ awareness on the EDC topic. Consumer Guide continues to be more and more present in Europe. Thanks to our Polish Member Spoleczny Instytut Ekologiczny, the Disrupting Food Consumer Guide has been translated in Polish, and it will be soon available in Italian and Portuguese. EXPPERT Reports Secondly, together with our French Member Générations Futures, we conducted several EXPPERT reports in order to show the urgency of a strong preventive action in the endocrine disrupting chemicals area. EDCs Free Europe Campaign Finally, we also took part with more than 25 partners in the EDCs Free Europe Campaign. This call for action has been launched by an informal coalition including trade unions, public health and healthcare professionals, advocates for cancer prevention, environmentalists and women’s groups. The campaign call for action’s demands is: • A revamp of all relevant EU laws to reduce our exposure to EDCs. • Set out a timetable to capture all sources of EDC exposure across the board. • Respond more swiftly to early warning signals. • Enhance public awareness of EDCs.
Integrated Pest Management
Pesticides News 95
Neonicotinoid restrictions present a unique opportunity to introduce safer agro-ecological approaches to pest management PAN UK’s Nick Mole, Stephanie Williamson, Paul Lievens and Keith Tyrell discuss issues around this controversial EU legislation and the debate on links between pesticides and pollinator declines. The Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK) welcomes the recent decision by the European Commission (EC) to place a temporary suspension on some uses of the three neonicotinoid pesticides, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin. We believe that the steps taken by the Commission are a measured and reasonable response to the conclusions on the unacceptable risks posed to wild pollinators as identified in the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reports on these actives (EFSA, 2013). The new measures introduced in April by the EC, following much discussion and debate, mean that these three actives can no longer be used as seed treatments on any flowering crop that is attractive to bees. This is for a provisional period of two years starting in December 2013, to allow Member States to assess the impact, positive or negative, this will have on bee populations. PAN UK recognises that neonicotinoids, and indeed other pesticides, are not the only threats facing wild pollinators. Other pressures, including access to forage, disease and parasites, have all been implicated in the alarming declines in pollinator populations witnessed in recent years. Nevertheless, the European restrictions provide a small window of opportunity in which it should be possible, given the correct
Oilseed rape is one of the largest users of neonicotinoid seed treatments in the UK
incentives and support from a range of stakeholders, to adopt more holistic agro-ecological approaches to pest management in the crops that are affected by the temporary restrictions.
Misleading information and scaremongering about neonicotinoid restrictions What PAN UK found most alarming in the debate about neonicotinoids was the opposition to the measures from certain quarters, including the UK Government, the National Farmers Union and, unsurprisingly, the pesticide manufacturers. Even more alarming were the misleading and often inaccurate statements broadcast in opposition to the proposed restrictions. It is worth highlighting here the report published by the Humboldt Forum for Food and Agriculture titled “The value of Neonicotinoid seed treatment in the European Union” (HFFA, 2013).This report was used to argue that the loss of neonicotinoids would impose devastating loss of productivity and income due to reduced yields and increased pest problems. It was promoted as an unassailable piece of independent research by those opposed to the ban. It is worth pointing out that the report was com-
Photo: Graham White
missioned and paid for by Bayer and Syngenta, neonicotinoid manufacturers, and that the Humboldt Forum is itself supported by Bayer Cropscience and BASF. The report claimed that the value of neonicotinoid use far outweighed any potential harm that their use could do, and used some very misleading ‘facts’ to back up this claim. Of particular concern was the use of an unrealistic baseline for the Humboldt study: • calculations did not take into account existing national bans; • calculations assumed that neonicotinoids would be replaced by other chemicals rather than turning to readily available and well tried non-chemical alternatives; • calculations did not take into account the implementation of the of EU plant health policy and the EU Sustainable Use Directive; and • calculations did not take into account externalities such as side effects of neonicotinoid use on beneficial insects, ecosystems, water pollution and other factors
The need to return to the ecological principles of IPM One of the main arguments put forward in the Humboldt report is that ending the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments would result in reduced yields. However, there is good evidence to show that this is not the case. In Italy, where a ban on the use of seed treatments for maize was instigated at the end of 2008 in response to increasing bee mortality rates, there appears to have been no yield loss whatsoever. The effect of the ban has been monitored by APENET, a monitoring project funded by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, and has shown that the ban has reduced the number of bee mortalities. It has also studied yields in maize and has stated that ‘the yield of maize was not affected by the ban’ (Christensen, 2011). What APENET also managed to show was that levels of pest and disease in maize did not increase in any meaningful manner following the ban (Youris, 2013). More information can be found in PAN UK’s factsheet no. 5 ‘Can restrictions on systemic insecticides help restore bee health?’ (PAN UK, 2012) which contains references to the APENET studies. Another argument in opposition to the ban was that farmers and growers would resort to using older chemistries, such as pyrethroids, to replace neonicotinoids. Again the Italian experience is illuminating. Rather than reverting to older pesticides, farmers varied crop rotations to deal with pest problems. Looking at the results reported by APENET, this seems to have been an effective, free and simple strategy. This simple rotation strategy has also been explored as a means of controlling Diabrotica virgifera in maize, a pest for which pesticide manufacturers aggressively market neonicotinoids. Can the same principle be applied in the UK, most notably on Oilseed Rape (OSR) but also on other crops that use neonicotinoid seed treatments? PAN UK recognises that OSR in the UK and maize in Italy are two
Integrated Pest Management
Pesticides News 95
very different crops, but believes that there are valuable lessons that can be learnt from the Italian experience. One area that has been neglected, and that PAN UK would like to see addressed, is the fact that in recent years in the UK it has become almost impossible to purchase nontreated OSR seed. Does this virtually blanket seed treatment approach actually address real pest levels or is it simply an ‘insurance’ policy? If the latter, then it flies in the face of good Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies. The deployment of a pesticide without assessing pest risk will almost inevitably result in unnecessary application. Concerned entomologists in the US have criticised a noticeable trend back to older habits of ‘just in case’ insecticide applications in maize and other arables, including seed treatment with neonicotinoids (Gray, 2011; EurekaAlert, 2012), with a ten-fold increase in insecticide use over the last decade. Have British farmers unwittingly stepped into this trap too? Under IPM principles, field-based monitoring is essential to see whether key pests are indeed present in a particular field in each season and if so, whether at levels that would lead to economic losses if no control measures were taken. PAN UK believes priority R&D and other support should be given to British farmers to find out what the situation is and develop a much better public and private sector framework for 21st century ecologically-informed pest management. It is also becoming clear that neonicotinoids are having negative effects not just on pollinators but on other species too. The American Bird Conservancy published a report in March (ABC, 2013) entitled “The Impact of the Nation’s Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds” which reviewed 200 studies of neonicotinoids and evaluated the toxicological risk to birds and aquatic systems. The conclusion of the report, which also looked at older pesticides, is that neonicotinoids are lethal to birds and the aquatic systems on which they rely. Recent studies carried out in the Netherlands have shown that surface waters contaminated with imidacloprid had a lower abundance of macroinvertebrates than non-contaminated waters and concluded that there are far reaching negative consequences from the continued use of this particular neonicotinoid (van Dijk et al., 2013). A recent review of current use of neonicotinoids suggests their persistence and ubiquity could impact on a range of non-target organisms including pollinators, soil and aquatic invertebrates and hence threaten a range of ecosystem services (Goulson, 2013). With the worldwide production and use of neonicotinoids still increasing, independent scientists are now urging a transition to pollinator-friendly alternatives to neonicotinoids for the sake of the sustainability of pollinator ecosystem services (van der Sluijs et al., 2013).
Given the weight of evidence from the numerous studies that show negative impacts on a range of species from the use of neonicotinoids, PAN UK believes that the Commission was absolutely correct to invoke this precautionary approach to these actives. It is an approach that PAN UK would like to see applied to all pesticides and we believe that this is now the time for a paradigm shift in the way pesticides are approved, used and marketed. Not just in the UK and EU, but globally. Recently, UN international agencies have come to a similar conclusion that, despite the increase in pesticide legislation and the banning of some of the older, problematic pesticides (e.g. persistent organochlorines like DDT), poisoning incidents and environmental contamination are still widespread. In 2006 the Strategic Approach to International Chemical Management (SAICM) set the scene for new concerted actions on the harmful side effects of chemicals in general. This global strategy aims to achieve sound management of chemicals throughout their whole lifecycle in order to protect human health and ecosystems. It constitutes a political commitment on the part of governments, chemical and pesticide manufacturers, civil society organisations and others to minimise significant adverse effects on human health and the environment. In line with SAICM recommendations, in 2007 the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organisation
Reducing reliance on Highly Hazardous Pesticides
Known to cause high incidence of severe or irreversible adverse effects
(FAO) launched a new initiative on Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs), including phase outs, bans where appropriate, and developing and promoting safer alternatives for pest management. The process of formally defining what constitutes an HHP is still underway by FAO and WHO. However, both agencies recognise the need to include not only the most acutely toxic pesticides (WHO Class Ia and Ib compounds) but also those with known chronic toxic effects even at very low exposure levels, or those that are very persistent in the environment or in the tissues of organisms, including humans. As a contribution to the FAO/WHO initiative, PAN International published its Highly Hazardous Pesticide List in 2009, using a range of official published hazard classifications to define PAN criteria for acute, chronic and environmental hazards. Table 1 gives a simplified summary of the hazard criteria and measures used to identify these. Full details are in the PAN International HHP List (PAN International, 2013). Using the criteria above, PAN International has identified around 450 pesticide active ingredients as HHPs (from over 1,000 available globally). The PAN list includes ‘highly toxic to bees’ as a hazard indicator for ecological services, using US EPA and the European Pesticide Properties Database (FOOTPRINT) database classifications for high acute toxity to honeybees. Using these criteria, 112 pesticides are high-
Table 1. Summary hazard criteria used in PAN International’s List of Highly Hazardous Pesticides Hazard criteria
Measure (hazard classifications used)
High acute toxicity
Extremely or highly hazardous (WHO Class 1a and 1b)
Long term toxic effect or chronic exposure
Very toxic by inhalation (EU classification) Known, probable or possible human carcinogens ( US EPA, EU & IARC) Known or suspected to be mutagenic to humans (EU) Known or suspected to impair fertility in humans or be toxic for reproduction (EU) Known or potential endocrine disruptors (EU) Suspected human carcinogen and suspected reproductive toxin (EU)
High environmental concern
Persistent organic pollutant (Stockholm Convention) Ozone depleting (Montreal Protocol) Very bioaccumulative (EU) Very persistent in marine or fresh water and sediment (EU) Hazard to ecosystem services - highly toxic to bees (US EPA) Rotterdam PIC Convention listed Pesticides identified from documented incidences
Integrated Pest Management ly toxic to bees, including the neonicotinoids clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. Thiacloprid also features as an HHP but due to its carcinogenic hazard classification, rather than high toxicity to bees. HHPs need to be replaced by safer, effective and more sustainable methods for managing pests, diseases and weeds. Phasing in a variety of IPM methods is the essential counterpart to an HHP phase out plan. Numerous proven IPM methods based on biological control, physical methods, cultural methods, such as diversified crop rotations, and other ecologically intelligent methods already exist, but are not always widely taken up by growers, often for lack of clear economic or market incentives. Taking out a number of HHPs from a specific cropping system can help kick-start the process to implementing an effective IPM strategy. Retailers can play a hugely important role in helping shift farming systems to more sustainable practices. This is recognised and encouraged in the FAO/ WHO Pesticide Code of Conduct, in recognition of the increasing vertical integration and globalisation of supply chains. Indeed, PAN UK is working with a number of UK supermarkets to explore ways to phase out specific HHPs. We welcomed the Co-operative’s pioneering efforts since 2009 to reduce neonicotinoid use in flowering crops and to work with growers to examine carefully the level of dependence on these compounds. Since then Waitrose has made a commitment to phase out certain uses and it is likely that Marks & Spencer and other progressive retailers may follow suit. PAN UK would like to see sector-wide collaborative and farmer participatory research on IPM strategies without neonicotinoids, or any other HHPs, for oilseed rape in particular. As a commodity crop without a consumer ‘face’, effective socioeconomic drivers for IPM for OSR are less obvious than for fruit and vegetables and pest management strategies must, of course, be developed considering the full crop rotations in which OSR
Our factsheet no. 6 on ‘What could farmers do to rely less on neonicotinoids?’ (PAN UK, 2012) summarises some of the issues that need to be addressed in building safe and sustainable IPM strategies in UK arables. We would like to see concerted multi-stakeholder efforts in this regard, along the lines of the excellent French government-coordinated pesticide and fertiliser reduction R&D programme, which has achieved success already in reducing input use without affecting farmers’ income (Williamson, 2011).
Conclusion PAN UK welcomes the EU temporary suspension of three neonicotinoid pesticides as a step in the right direction in protecting bees. We believe that this presents a unique opportunity to introduce safer, ecologically informed methods of pest management. The experience in Italy has shown that is not an unrealistic aspiration. Moreover, the EU restrictions also present the possibility of a turning point more generally on the use of highly hazardous toxic pesticides, in favour of non-chemical and IPM pest control methods. What is needed now is the political will of governments around the world to take action to promote these alternatives. This article appeared in Volume 24 No. 4 of Outlooks on Pest Management www.pestoutlook.com - published by Research Information Ltd, and is made available here with the publisher's permission. Copies of OPM articles are available at www.ingentaconnect.com/content/resinf/op m
Christensen, H. (2011) Italy’s neonicotinoid bans help bees. Pesticide News 93 p.19 EFSA (2013) EFSA identifies risks to bees from neonicotinoids. European Food Safety Authority press release. Via: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/130116.htm Eureka Alert (2012) Researcher tracks agricultural overuse of bug-killing technology. Eureka Alert, Feb. 2012. Via: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-02/uoiarta022912.php Gray, ME. (2011) Relevance of Traditional Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Strategies for Commercial Corn Producers in a Transgenic Agroecosystem: A Bygone Era? J. Agric. Food Chem 59 5852-5858 Goulson, D. (2013) An overview of the environmental risks posed by neonicotinoid insecticides. Journal of Applied Ecology 2013. doi: 10.1111/13652664.12111 HFFA (2013) The value of neonicotinoid seed treatment in the European Union. A socioeconomic, technological and environmental review. Research review, Humboldt Forum for Food & Agriculture e.V. Via: http://www.neonicreport.com/wpcontent/uploads/2013/01/HFFA%20Report.pdf PAN International (2013) List of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (revised version June 2013). Via: http://www.pangermany.org/gbr/project_work/highly_hazardous_pest icides.html PAN UK (2012) Bee Declines and the Link with Pesticides. Factsheet series. Via: http://www.panuk.org/news/new-bee-and-pesticide-fact-sheets Van der Sluijs ,et al.( 2013) Neonicotinoids, bee disorders and the sustainability of pollinator services, Curr Opin Environ Sustain Via: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ j.cosust.2013.05.007 Van Dijk TC, Van Staalduinen MA, Van der Sluijs JP (2013) Macro-Invertebrate Decline in Surface Water Polluted with Imidacloprid. PLoS ONE 8(5): e62374. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062374
Williamson, S. (2011) French farmers and Integrated Production of wheat. Pesticides News 90 16-17
ABC (2013)The Impact of the Nation’s Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds. American Bird Conservancy. Via: http://www.abcbirds.org/abcprograms/policy/toxins/N eonic_FINAL.pdf
Youris (2013) Marco Lodesani: Lessons from the Italian Ban on Pesticides. European Research Media Centre. Via: http://www.youris.com/Environment/Bees/Marco_Lo desani_Lessons_From_The_Italian_Ban_On_Pesticid es.
Tackling pesticide stockpiles in Tanzania Phase one of the Africa Stockpiles Programme in Tanzania concluded in May this year. Silvani Mng’anya and Aiwerasia Vera Ngowi outline its achievements and the outstanding challenges that will need to be tackled in consolidating and continuing this work. The Africa Stockpiles Programme (ASP) is a continent-wide program to clear all obsolete pesticide stocks from Africa and put in place measures to prevent their recurrence in future. The ASP in Tanzania (ASP (T)) comprises a network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) working together to tackle the problem of obsolete pesticides.
Pesticides News 95
There are 36 active network members from different regions of Tanzania, linked to about 500 NGOs and CSOs, focussing on farmers, workers and communities. The Network Secretariat is currently hosted by one of its members, AGENDA for Environment and Responsible Development (AGENDA). The Network worked in collaboration
with the Government and the private Sector, the major collaborators being the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) as the overall programme coordinating institution, the Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Cooperatives and CropLife Tanzania among others. The Network has been the
A farmer found applying pesticides without protective gear in Chomvu village
Pesticide stockpiles Secretary to the National Stakeholders Advisory Forum (NSAF) under the project, with the role of providing advice and key recommendations towards successful implementation of the programme. In the year 2012/13, the Network and its member organizations have implemented an important project known as “NGOs contribution to sustainability of the ASP in Tanzania.” During this project, the Network trained 40 local government officers and 30 science secondary school teachers both in the Northern and Southern Highlands knowing that they work closely with farmers or likely to impart the knowledge to pupils at different occasions and events. The project was funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Global Greengrants Fund (GGF) and Pesticide Action Network (PAN) UK.
Pesticides News 95
Survey of empty containers The project also conducted a survey on the type, source, use and disposal of empty containers in selected areas for input into the national container management plan. This involved farmers around Lake Eyasi in Mang’ola (Arusha), Lupa Tingatinga area in Chunya (Mbeya), Mindu and Bigwa areas (Morogoro), Mbagala and Temeke (Dar es Salaam) and with a total of 110 respondents. On disposal of empty containers, some respondents reported they do so by burning, pile up, pile and burn later, bury, or throw away in the nearest bush, farm, pit-latrine or dumps.
Appropriateness of pesticide labels The Network also carried out a survey on appropriateness of pesticide labels and on the reading and understanding of important pesticide symbols to selected retailers and farmers. This aimed to explore how labelling contributed to accumulation of pesticides stocks. The survey covered Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Kilimanjaro and Arusha Regions with 130 farmers and 20 pesticides retailers.
Roles, responsibilities and rights of protection The Network reviewed the legal and institutional framework on the protection from pesticide hazards, reviewing four policies, seven related laws and Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), while also consulting seven key Ministries and authorities and five CSOs. Roles, responsibilities and rights of protection from pesticide hazards and existing reporting of pesticide health and environmental incidents were summarized and recommendations for improvement put forward.
Utangulizi kwa wakulima wadogo” for Tanzanian public consumption.
ASP Network Chairperson - Dr Vera Ngowi and Coordinator - Silvani Mng'anya
Train school teachers on the introduction toxicology of pesticides in schools
Document and publicize the existing practices on pesticides Pesticides repackaging, street vending and false advertisements are some of the problems contributing to hazardous exposures to pesticides in Tanzania. The network documented and publicized the existing practices on packaging, distribution, advertising and purchasing of pesticides to create media and public awareness on the dangers of lack of enforcement of legislation in pesticide trading. The study focused in two divisions - Usangi and Ugweno in Mwanga district, Kilimanjaro region. It involved over 60 farmers organized through focus group discussions, interviews and meetings, with information materials collected and re-organized, translated and published into English and Kiswahili for general public use.
Use of empty pesticide containers in Arusha and Morogoro
Training local government officers on effects of pesticides and mainstreaming in local budget Two training sessions were organized in Karatu and Njombe for local government authorities on the health and environmental effects of pesticides, existing good practices (including IPM, IVM, organic farming) and the importance of including pesticides capacity building in their development programmes. The first session in Karatu involved 18 (13 men and 5 women) local government officers from plant protection, health, environment and social welfare sectors from three districts of Arusha, Karatu and Meru and one journalist. The second session in Njombe involved 21 government officers (8 women), 2 NGO representatives and 3 journalists. The local government officers came from seven districts in three Regions of Njombe, Iringa and Mbeya. The districts were Njombe, Ludewa, Makete and Wanging’ombe (Njombe Region); Mufindi and Kilolo (Iringa Region); and Mbarali (Mbeya Region). The two NGO representatives were from MVIWATA, a Network of Groups of Smallholder Farmers currently with 326 groups countrywide. The training also involved a translation of a booklet “Pesticide safety: An introduction to small holder farmers” initially published by WWF Eastern Africa Regional Programme Office (EARPO) in 2007 into Kiswahili, “Usalama wa viuatilifu:
Additionally, the project trained secondary school teachers on how to introduce the toxicology of pesticides into their classrooms, including the development and dissemination of information materials. Two training sessions for teachers were conducted in the Northern Zone (Karatu District) and Southern Highland (Njombe District). The first session in Karatu involved 15 (13 men and 2 women) secondary school science teachers from three districts of Arusha, Karatu and Meru, one journalist and one local government officer from Karatu District. The second session in Njombe involved 14 teachers (1 woman) and 2 representatives each from media and NGOs. The teachers came from seven districts in three Regions of Njombe, Iringa and Mbeya. The districts were Njombe, Ludewa, Makete and Wanging’ombe (Njombe Region); Mufindi and Kilolo (Iringa Region); and Mbarali (Mbeya Region). The two NGO representatives were from MVIWATA. In addition to the training, a booklet “Pests and pesticides: An introduction to school children” also published by WWF EARPO in 2007 was translated into Kiswahili, “Visumbufu na viuatilifu: Utangulizi kwa watoto wa shule. During the local government and teacher training the ASP (T) Network visited some farmers around the areas where the training was held to enable experience sharing between farmers using biological pest control and/or organic methods with those farmers using synthetic pesticides. As a result, those using chemical pesticides resolved to stop using them in favour of biological control. Local government officers and school teachers trained in Karatu and Njombe highlighted the need for the ongoing sustainability of the training, including: the production of a package of information materials (VCDs, DVDs, brochures, posters etc) on the effects of pesticides on human health and the environment and alternatives
Pesticides News 95
A farmer leads a label reading exercise with school pupils
establishing and strengthening networks and clubs; and follow-up training to other local governments and schools. They also resolved to form their own networks in their respective districts to continue sharing experiences after the training, and to inform their respective government departments and communicate within the Network. The training of school teachers helps to extend the knowledge to students who can bring about change through influencing their parents. Moreover the ASP(T) Network is involved in the development of a Roadmap to Sustainable Pesticide Management in Tanzania, a Pesticide Empty Container Management Strategy and a review of Plant Protection Act of 1997.
Editors briefing on pesticides In concluding the project, the Network organized a half day media in June in Dar es Salaam, with the aim of informing them on chemicals management, with particular focus to pesticides and the ASP, and role of the media in promoting sound management. In addition, the session aimed to strengthen the relationship and collaboration between media and the Network and its members in informing the general public. The session was attended by 20 participants from the international media (BBC and DW Kiswahili Service), televisions (TBC1 and ITV), Radio (Radio One), and newspapers (Daily News, The Guardian, The Citizen, Habari Leo, Nipashe, Mwananchi, and Tanzania Daima).
obsolete pesticides was just starting as the ASP(T) ended. The problem of pesticide management in Tanzania is governed by a number of factors such as low or poor enforcement of pesticide law and accompanying legal frameworks and lack of coordination and collaboration between and among key stakeholders. Low knowledge of the pesticide life cycle and their environmental and health effects exacerbates the problem. This project tried to highlight some key issues contributing to pesticide management in order to inform policy makers, law enforcers and other stakeholders for action. These included assessing and documenting the existing practices on pesticide handling and use, understanding the information provided on pesticide labels, poor disposal and misuse of pesticide empty containers and key stakeholders failing to play their role. Without these, there is a danger of re-accumulation of obsolete pesticides and continued harm to human health and the environment in future years. The training of government officers and school teachers, the editors briefing, the production of booklets and information materials in this project were all aimed at raising awareness and preventing a future accumulation, which is one of the primary
objectives of the ASP. The support from DFID was vital in maintaining the momentum of the ASP, as funding in the phase one of the programmes ended. Stakeholders should not act in separate groups when dealing with human health, each group needs to play its role but in a coordinated manner. Therefore, to consolidate and sustain the ASP in Tanzania, the most important issues to take forward include: 1. Increased pesticide inspection and monitoring by the Tropical Pesticide Research Institute (TPRI) to enforce legislation 2. A Pesticide inventory to be conducted by District Agricultural Offices in Karatu, Njombe and Wangingâ€™ombe with further follow-up and continuation of the enforcement activities; 3. Pesticides management to be mainstreamed in local government programmes and budgets, with follow-up and lobbying for political commitment from the local and Central Government; 4. Pesticides incidences, contamination and poisonings caused by empty pesticides containers to be reported in a timely fashion by farmers and other users. This issue is serious one which needs appropriate interventions from all stakeholders; 5. Support for education and awareness programmes for farmers (extending the Community Monitoring programme), policy and decision makers on the effects of pesticides and their alternatives for sustainable management; 6. Support for the production and dissemination of information, education and communication materials as an important aid in communicating awareness messages to relevant groups of stakeholders; and 7. Establishing/ strengthening School Environmental Clubs and include pesticide issues as extracurricular activities as a short term measure towards inclusion of pesticide management in the school curriculum. All these require multi-stakeholder collaboration and commitment including government at all levels, private sector, civil society and the community.
Dr Aiwerasia Vera Ngowi is the ASP Network Chairperson, and Silvani Mngâ€™anya is Network Co-ordinator. They can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lessons learnt and recommendations The Network believes that the business of preventing health and environmental hazards resulting from accumulation of
Empty containers dumped in the field
Agriculture diffuse source nitrate residues: the case of soils of citrus orchards in Guzelyurt, Cyprus Nitrate pollution is both a health hazard and a significant contributor to global warming. Forsuh Peter Atungsiri, Julian Saurin, Begum Tokay, and Wanye Fuller seek to address concerns about environmental sustainability in agriculture systems by assessment of the potential environmental impact of diffuse nitrate pollution of soils of citrus orchards in Guzelyurt, Cyprus.
Sustainable agriculture requires a delicate balance between crop production, natural resource utilization, environmental impacts and economics. It strives to optimize food production while maintaining economic stability, minimizing the utilization of finite natural resource and minimizing impact on the environment . Sustainability concerns in agricultural systems centers on technological developments that might be having adverse effects on environmental services and goods. Agriculture is contributing significant amount of nitrous oxides which are also know as a major source of green house gases. In addition to global warming, nitrates have been identified as the cause of blue baby syndrome . It is therefore important to evaluate the diffused source nitrogen Over the years agrochemicals (fertilizers and pesticides) have used by farmers to improve agricultural productivity around the world. Despite great progress in agriculture productivity in the past half-century, with crops and livestock productivity strongly influenced by increased used of fertilizers, irrigation water, agricultural machineries, pesticides and land modification , it is obvious that the components of the environmental ecology may depreciate over time. Hence new approaches are required in the agriculture systems that will integrate biological and ecological processes into food production while minimizing the use of nonrenewable (agrochemicals) inputs that might be causing harm to the environment or to the health of the farmers and consumers . The aim of this article is to provide a baseline data on agricultural diffuse nitrate pollution. In addition, this work might catalyse the rethinking of sustainability in agricultural development to policy makers of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). The provision of enough scientific evidence of the potential environmental impact of agricultural diffuse source pollution, might aid the policy makers in regulation and policy formulation on the use of nitrogen fertilizers in citrus orchards. The study site is the host of the biggest groundwater aquifer in Cyprus, hence the nitrogen residues in the soil has the risk of being potentially lost to the ground water resource of this aquifer. Loss of nutrients from agricultural lands through the process of leaching and surface
runoff is suspected as one of the most important nonpoint source contamination . This might be resulting from intensive agricultural systems and improper agricultural practices that have been considered as the main source of nitrate pollution [5; 6; 7]. Excessive application of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer has the potential to pollute not only the soil but also the groundwater resource [8; 9]. The effect of prevailing cropping system and fertilization practice on nitrate contamination of the soil and groundwater continuum in Lebanon-Eastern Mediterranean was studied between 2007 to 2009. They found that in irrigation agriculture, the annual discharge of nitrogen depends on nitrogen application, plant uptake, and leaching rate. A linear regression analysis gave a significant relationship between nitrate and chloride indicating that a diffuse pollution originated mostly from complex fertilizers application on the farm land.
Nitrate Residues on Soils of Citrus orchards The soil samples were collected based on a horizontal and vertical base  and were denoted as taken from depths of 0-30, 30-60 and 60-90 cm together with the name of their locations before they were brought to the laboratory. Four sample points from each orchard were randomly selected at the different locations within the Guzelyurt district. The sampling depth ranges from 0-90 cm at each sampling point. However the sampling was done at intervals of 30 cm depth in a vertical profiling with a spade and a helical auger. Samples collected from each depth were approximately 1 kg. These samples were then mixed in a plastic bag to get a composite soil sample. The bag was turned around a few times, in order to make the soil homogeneous. Plant residues and stone pieces were removed by hand picking and then the soil sample was transferred to a sample bag. Sampling date, location and sampling number were marked on the bags and samples were brought to laboratory. Sampling was completed before the next fertilizing period that usually starts around spring. There are various methods for determining nitrate and nitrite in soil. The most popular of these methods is the reduction of nitrate
Pesticides News 95
ions to ammonia followed by steam distillation . The reduction of nitrate ions to ammonia is a method of analyzing soil nitrate. However, most studies have identified that the use of Ultra Violet spectrophotometer (UV spectrophotometer) is the best because of the relative ease and accuracy of measurement . In order to extract nitrate and nitrite in soil 40.0 g of soil samples were weighed in bottles, 200ml of 1M potassium chloride (KCl) solution was added and the mixture was shaken for an hour on the soil samples at 20 ±2˚C as described in ISO/TS 14256-1 2003(E) testing kit .Then approximately 60ml of the extract suspensions were poured into tubes and centrifuged for 30 minutes at around 3000 G. The supernatant solutions were decanted into glass vessels that were then ready for the measurement of nitrate and nitrite by UV spectrophotometer. The standard method requires that after the extracts have been prepared; they should be used immediately or stored at a temperature lower than 4˚C for one week at most. In this study, the extracts were stored in the refrigerator for only two days before analyses. The soil extracts and the solutions for the kit were for nitrate testing. The soil extract solution and the kit’s solutions were mixed up and allowed to stand for the reactions that form the colure measured by UV spectrophotometer to go to completion. Ten milliliters (ml) of soil extract solution was placed into a small bottle that has a stopper, and two ml of nitrate kit solution reagent (which contains sulphuric acid and phosphoric acid solution) that result in the formation of nitrate ions. These nitrate ions then react with 2,6dimethylphenol to form 4-nitro-2,6dimethylphenol that was determined photometrically. The 4-nitro-2,6-dimethylphenol is a complex organic compound that gave coloration of each sample. In acidic solution nitrite ions react with sulphanic acid to form diazonium salt, which in turn reacts with nitrogen N-(1-naphthy) ethylenediamine dihydro chloride to form a red violet azo dye. This dye was determined photometrically. The pH was noted with the aid of litmus paper. This mixture is allowed to stand for thirty minute before testing so that the coloration process should be completed. During the process of the formation of the complex azo dyke, a clear solution gradually changes colure into a purple colure solution depending on the nitrate concentration in the solution. The colure solutions are then placed in a UV spectrophotometer (spectroquant NOVO 60 by Merck) that measures the intensity of the coloration and this gives the concentration of nitrate which is recorded.
Evaluation Standard Across a wide literature search, there are no standards for the evaluation of residual soil nitrates, nitrite, potash and phosphate, therefore, in this article; drinking water standard has been used as a proxy for the evaluation criterion. Nitrate pollution level in soil was evaluated according to the criterions
Sustainable production below based on drinking water standards. The WHO limits issued for drinking water standard of nitrate is 10 mg/l . However, the European Union (EU) drinking water standard may contain 0.5 ml/l of nitrite and 50 mg/l of nitrate as the upper limits. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (US.EPA) standard for drinking water for nitrite is 1 mg/l and 10 mg/l of nitrate. Also in EU Nitrate Vulnerable Zones, where farmers have to follow set controls.
Figure 2 (a), Nitrate residue concentration in the soil at depth 0-90 cm for inorganic orchards.
Results and discussion The average residue value together with the standard deviation (measures the deviation of points away from and closed to the mean) were calculated from nitrate concentration measured after analysis (Table 1). When the data points are close to the mean, the values of standard deviation are relatively lower than mean. But when the data points are further apart from the mean, the standard deviations are relatively higher than the mean. The standard deviation is written as ± followed by a figure immediately after the mean. The average residue value was calculated to be 14.23 ± 14.35 for all depths and orchards and that meant values weren’t changed in a wide range. The average nitrate contents were 13.45 ± 5.7 13.71 ± 14.10 and 15.70 ± 21.33 mg/l at depths of 0-30, 30-60 and 60-90 cm, respectively. However those average values may not be representative. For example at 0-30 cm residue was measured as low as 3.6 mg/l in Kalkanli while it was 23.9 mg/l in Guzelyurt-1 that was the highest in this section (Table1). Nitrate amounts were obtained to be 51.7 mg/l (Guzelyurt-3) and 71.4 mg/l (Yayla-1) at 30-60 cm and 60-90 cm, respectively.
Table 1 Nitrate concentration (mg/l) in the soil for 3 sampling depths from 0 to 90 cm.
Figure 1 shows the concentration of nitrate at all locations and depths whereas, Figure 2a and b show the variation of nitrate concentration for the different locations with depths.
Figure 1 Nitrate residue concentration distribution in the soil at depth 0-90 cm
Figure 2 (b), Nitrate residue concentration in the soil at depth 0-90 cm for organic orchards.
In Lefke, Gaziveren-1, Aydinkoy and Guzelyurt-2 orchards residue amount decreased with increasing depth while the other six didn’t show a trend. For example in Guzelyurt-3 nitrate amount was almost 5 and 7 times higher at 30-60 cm than 0-30 cm and 60-90 cm values, respectively. In contrast Yayla-1 showed the highest residue at 60-90 cm that was almost 7 times higher than the others. Especially in Kalkanli that has sandy soil structure at all depths, residue levels were lower than 5 mg/l. Levels in Gaziveren1 (except 0-30 cm), Gaziveren-2, Guzelyurt1 (except 0-30 cm), and Guzelyurt-2 orchards were also below the WHO limit for water, which is 10 mg/l. In these orchards, soil types are mostly loam and sand instead of clay. Even though there is no direct relation between soil type and nitrate residue amount, sandy and loamy soils may allow water flow more than clayey type soils. Because of the pores in the sandy and loamy soils, fertilizers may leach faster and consequently residues are kept less in those types of soils. The low residue values that obtained in Gaziveren-1, especially at 60-90 cm section, may also be explained by using 25 kg NPK fertilizer per acre instead of 50 kg/acre since it is a younger orchard. However, Kalkanli orchard, where the lowest residues were measured, was old and thus fertilizer amount itself may not be the only reason to obtain low residue values in Gaziveren-1. Beside this, other older Aydinkoy, Guzelyurt-3, Yayla-1 and Yayla-2 orchards, showed higher nitrate residues at around 15-17 mg/l (except 60-90 cm section for Yayla-1) that the soil types are mostly clayey.
Conclusion In TRNC, it is recommended by the soil and water laboratory where soil testing for nutrient management is done, that 25 kg of nitrogen, 10 kg of phosphorus and 15 kg of potassium should be applied per donum (acres) per year to the soils of citrus orchards. However, the 50kg and 25kg of NPK fertilizer that is alleged to be applied by the farmers bases on ages of citrus plants, contains differ-
Pesticides News 95
ent proportion of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. One of the soluble mixed NPK fertilizers that is applied to the citrus orchards in TRNC contains 20% by volume of nitrogen (nitric nitrogen 6%, ammonium nitrogen 4% and urea nitrogen 10%), 20% by volume of water soluble phosphorus as phosphate (P2O5) and 20% by volume of water soluble potassium as potash (K2O). This is the requirement based on sustainable soil nutrient management for citrus cultivation. After all these required nutrients are applied by the farmers in their orchards through different forms and types of fertilizers, the residues on the soils in any quantity contributes significantly to soil quality degradation. Three classes of orchards were investigated for the potential environmental impacts that might result from the use of fertilizer in the soil of citrus in Guzelyurt. These are orchards that are receiving fertilizer (inorganic orchards), orchards that are receiving organic manure from animal waste (organic orchards) and abandoned orchard. In an attempt to quantify the quantity of nitrate, nitrite, phosphate and potash residues that are being deposited on the soils of citrus orchards at the end of 2012 farming season, it can be concluded without a doubt that both fertilizer and organic manure contribute to nitrate residues on the soils. It can be concluded that at the end of each citrus growing season, significant amounts of nitrate residues were recorded. Assuming the abandoned citrus orchard (Kalkanli orchard) as control orchard for the investigation, it was found out that the abandoned citrus orchard has the least recorded values for nitrate and nitrite residues at all depths. The organic orchards (Guzelyurt-2 and Guzelyurt-3) as well as the inorganic organic orchards (Lefke, Gaziverene-1 and 2, Aydinkoy and Guzelyurt-1), show relatively high amount of nitrates and nitrite implying that the organic manure and fertilizer deposited large amount of residues on the soils.
Forsuh Peter Atungsiri grew up in rural Bamuka Ndop, Cameroon, and holds a degree in Geology with a minor in Environmental Science from University of Buea Cameroon, and a Masters degree in Sustainable Environment and Energy Systems from Middle East Technical University, Northern Cyprus. He can be contacted at email@example.com. References 1. Application of GIS in modelling of nonpoint source pollution in the vadose zone: A conference overview. Corwin L., and Wagenet J. 3, 1996, Journal of Environmental quality, Vol. 25, pp. 403-410. 2. The Dutch mineral accounting system and the European nitrate Directive: implication for N and P management and farm performance. Beldman A.C. G., Daatselaar C.H.D., Giesen G.W.J. and Huime R.B.M. (2002) Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, Vol. 92, issue 2-3, pp. 283-296 3. Agricultural sustainability: concept, principle and Evidence. Pretty, Jules. 2008, Philos Trans R Soc Lon
Sustainable production 4. Use of amendments to reduce leaching loss of phosphorus and other nutrients from a sandy soil in Florida. Yang J., He Z., Yang Y., Stoffella P., Yang X., Banks D., Mishra S.,. 4, 2007, Environmental Science Pollut.Resource, Vol. 14, pp. 266-269. 5. Nitrogen balance and groundwater contamination: comparison among three intensive cropping systems on the North China plain. Ju T., Kou L., Zhang S., Christie P. 1, 2006, Environmental Pollution, Vol. 143, pp. 117-125. 6. Agricultural activities impact on groundwater. Mahvi M., Nouri J., Babaei A., Nabizadeh R. 1, 2005, International journal of environmental. science technology, Vol. 2, pp. 41-47. 7. Intergrated water management: emerging issues and challenges. H., Bouwer. 2000, Agriculture Water Management, Vol. 45, pp. 217-228. 8. Contamination par les nitrates des eaux souterraines de la plaine d' Akkar au Liban du Nord. Halwani J., Oudadane B., Baoudi M. and Wartel M. 1999, Cahiers Sante, Vol. 9, pp. 219-223. B Biol Sci, Vol. 363, pp. 447-465. 9. Managing nitrate problems for domestic wells in irrigated alluvial aquifer. C., Ray. 1, s.l. : Journal of irrigation and Drainage engineering, 2001, J. Irrig. Drain. Eng., Vol. 127, pp. 49-53. 10. Observation on soil and groundwater contamination with nitrate: A case study from Lebanon-East Mediterranean. Darwish T., Atallah T., Saab C., Jomaa I., Shaaban A., Sakka H., Zdruli P. 2011, Agricultural Water Manangement, Vol. 99, pp. 74-84. 11. Determination of avaliable nitrate, phosphate and sulphate in soil samples. Samira A., Mussa B., Hawaa S., Elferjani A., Harou H., Abdelnabi F. 3, 2009, IJPRF, Vol. 1 , pp. 598-604. 12. Determination of nitrate and nitrite in soil extrat by ultraviolet spectrophotometry. Stucki J., Norman J. 1981, Soil science society of America jounal, Vol. 45, pp. 347-353. 13. Soil quality -Determination of nitrate, nitrite and ammonium in field-moist soils by extraction with potassium chloride solution. ISO. s.l. : ISO/TS, 2003, Vols. ISO/TS 14256-1, pp. 1-14. 14. Investigation of nitrate pollution on soil, groundwater and vegetables from three typical farmland in Beijing Region; China. Du F., Zhao T., Zhang C., An Z., Wu Q., Liu B., Li P., Ma M.,. 3, 2011, Agricultural science in China, Vol. 10, pp. 423430.
Pesticides News 95
The Organic Naturally Different Campaign Catherine Fookes of the Organic Trade Board gives us the lowdown on their award winning and effective joint campaign with Sustain to promote sales of organic produce. The Organic Naturally Different Campaign was born out of a need to explain the benefits of organic food and drink clearly and simply to consumers. In the boom time of the 90s, all you had to do it seemed, was put organic on the label of your product and it flew off the shelves. Not so when the recession started to bite and people began to seriously examine their spending. The tightening of peoples’ purse strings, coupled with the lack of a single unified message about organic to consumers, meant sales started to fall. And that’s why the Organic Trade Board (OTB) and Sustain felt it was important to do something to address this sales decline. When we found out there was a Promotion fund available at the EU, which could be match funded to promote organic we thought we’d be mad not to apply for the funding. So £2m was raised: 50% from organic companies and the other 50% from the EU and the Organic Naturally Different campaign was born. The campaign’s main aim is to increase organic sales and to increase understanding of the benefits of organic. As we near the end of the campaign and look back over the past three years we can see lots of successes that have started to turn things around again. Our small campaign
can’t claim credit for all of this - its partly due to the improving economic climate, partly due to the horse meat scandal which broke at the beginning of the year and made consumers start to question what’s in their food and partly, down to the visually appealing advertisements that have been developed by our advertising agency, Haygarth. The campaign won a much coveted award from the Marketing Agencies Association for “Best marketing led campaign” as well as being runner up to Guinness (an iconic brand with a budget many times the size of ours!) for the Grocer’s Best outdoor campaign 2012. Not only has the campaign won awards, it has also been effective in its aim of increasing organic sales. The campaign has started to turn around the decline in the organic market. It was declining at -15% when the campaign started whereas the latest figures show a rise in organic sales in the UK of 4.2% in the 12 weeks to 9 June 2013. (Kantar World Panel, 2013) In Organic September 2012, when we were advertising on the London Underground and online with a major retailer sales across all organic categories rose 7.7% on the previous month (Kantar World Panel 2012) which shows the campaign has been having a very positive impact.
Advertising & PR As part of the drive to remind people of the benefits of organic we wanted a high impact, highly visible campaign, which explained the benefits of organic in a clear, simple and humorous way. We wanted to rebrand organic to make it more fun and show that it’s for everyone, not only for the elite few. Our pre-campaign research showed that people often bought organic food to avoid pesticides, GM and “nasties” so it made sense to do some ads around this theme. Our apple, plum and carrot ads show consumers how you can reduce exposure to pesticide residues by choosing organic food. To link in with this, we wanted to focus our PR around the issue of pesticide residues too and so PAN-UK were the ideal partner. When PAN launched their Pesticides on a Plate report, we were able to talk to the media about the solutions to the health and environmental impact of pesticides being to grow more and eat more organic food. Our campaign ambassador Monica Galetti, Nick Mole from PAN-UK and I all spent a day in a radio studio, spreading the word that the issue of pesticide residues in our food is getting worse, and that we need Government action to deal with this, and that to avoid pesticide residues, you can choose organic food. Our other key message in PR has been to show that you can buy organic on a budget, and we have worked with Monica Galetti on that too. Monica, a BBC TV Masterchef: The Professionals judge, chef and mother of two, has created some budget organic recipes that also make your organic food go further. Top foodie blogger Karen Burns Booth has also created seasonal recipe planners and embraced the theme of being
“Thrifty and organic.” Other PR work throughout the campaign included working with Mumsnet to target potential organic shoppers, taking bloggers around Helen Browning’s Organic Farm, launching a Discover Organic cook book, with recipes from the likes of Kate Humble and Lorraine Pascale which gained fantastic PR, and encouraged people to buy more organic
How you can get involved The campaign also has a vibrant and large Facebook following (currently just under 75k “likes”) which has provided an excellent forum for discussion about food issues in general and organic in particular. Individually you can join, or if you are from an organisation, like our page, and post your thoughts up on it too at www.facebook.com/organicuk. The Facebook page has brought advocates together and allowed people to share tips, have conversations and discuss issues important to them. We post about the benefits of organic food and drink via recipes, competitions and serious stories about the environmental benefits of organic and the impact of pesticides. The facebook page also has fortnightly giveaways and competitions so do join in! Our campaign twitter - @organicukfood - now has over 5k followers in total and is also a great way to get the message out about organic to influencers, bloggers and chefs – follow us on twitter and you can keep in touch with what we are doing.
Evaluation of the campaign As well as the sales figures, which tell a good story, we also do independent research to track the effectiveness of the campaign
Pesticides News 95
and this show that attitudes towards organic food are changing for the better: • 7% point increase since June 2012 on the understanding that organic food contains fewer chemicals • 8% point increase on organic food being safer to eat • those who have seen the campaign are particularly likely to believe that organic food is healthier for you, safer to eat, uses fewer antibiotics on animals and tastes fantastic. We do not state this on our adverts or in our material, but those who have seen the campaign are inferring this from it. • The importance of buying organic food is increasing among those who have seen the campaign • Those who have seen the campaign are twice as likely to buy organic food in the next fortnight whilst this figure is only 37% for those who have not seen campaign. This suggests the campaign is having an effect on driving people to buy organic. What next? The OTB and Sustain have applied for more match funding from the EU for another three year campaign, and we’ll find out in November whether we have been successful. If we are, we will most certainly continue to push the message that in order to avoid pesticide residues, you can choose organic food, and to work with PAN-UK who have been a great partner. Catherine Fookes is Campaign Manager at the Organic Trade Board. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find out more about OTB at www.organictradeboard.co.uk.
Pesticides News 95
Innovative weeding technology leading the way in non-toxic weed control With increasing evidence linking chemical herbicides to damaging medical conditions and contamination of water tables, there’s growing pressure coming from the public and legislators for change. Legislators no longer have an option but to act; change is upon us and Weedingtech is at the forefront of this change. Weedingtech is a British company that designs and manufactures innovative weeding technology for sale around the world. It offers its customers a non-toxic way of controlling weeds called Foamstream. Developed exclusively by Weedingtech, Foamstream harnesses the power of thermal technology. It kills weeds using a precise application of hot water, steam and a natural foam made from plant oils and sugars. As far back as the 1990s, Weedingtech’s founders, the Goldsmith family, became shocked by the effect that traditional chemical herbicides had on people and the environment. They endeavoured to find an alternative. They engaged with an R&D partner and found a new method – a thermal process - with the help of the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge. Foamstream was patented, and Weedingtech the company was born. The application of Foamstream is straightforward and highly effective. The weed is killed in four simple steps: 1. Heat is applied to the weed in the form of hot water and steam. 2. The foam acts as a blanket keeping the heat on the weed long enough to kill it. 3. A wetting agent in the foam speeds up the rupture of the weed’s cell walls. 4. The weed dies in minutes and results are visible immediately Foamstream works as effectively as herbicide but contains no harmful active ingredients. Hence it’s completely safe and its use is unrestricted around children, pets and sensitive environments. The foam itself is made from 100% natural plant oils and sugars from renewable sources. It biodegrades quickly leaving no residue. It’s also approved for use on organic systems by the
Foamstream in action
Soil Association and the Organic Farmers and Growers Association. Foamstream is also confirmed by the Chemicals Regulation Directorate [CRD] as being outside the scope of EC Regulation 1107/09. Since developing Foamstream technology, Weedingtech has enjoyed rapid growth, receiving investment from several affluent investors including The Low Carbon Innovation Fund, The Goldsmith family and Roman Abramovich. Headquartered in London, Weedingtech, has an international expansion strategy which will see it expand throughout Europe in 2014. Weedingtech has already appointed agents to handle sales in Spain, France, Germany and Holland. Weedingtech plan to expand into North America, Australia and New Zealand in 2015. In each overseas territory Weedingtech targets, distributors are selected to manage all aspects of its operations in those territories. Weedingtech’s first product to market is the MW-Series, developed specifically for the amenity market. The MW-Series is a standalone system that can be placed on a variety of vehicles ranging from pick-ups to flat-bed transits in order to deliver precise applications of Foamstream. The MWSeries embraces the complex requirements that amenity customers face – it is compact, versatile and easy to manoeuvre which makes its use very straightforward. Key customers are likely to be councils, water companies and contracting companies. Weedingtech has already generated a host of customers including Lincolnshire City Council, Thames Water, LanGuard, Countryman’s Contractors, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Thanet
Council and Ecological Weeding Techniques. The Thanet Project is particularly interesting as it’s a European initiative searching for methods of non-herbicide weed control that can be implemented to help reduce the use of herbicide. Weedingtech have established a strategic partnership with Sherriff Amenity. Sherriff Amenity are industry leaders in the supply of professional products and advice, and they will distribute Foamstream to the amenity market. The use of traditional chemical herbicides has consequences for the safety and purity of water. Future plans for Weedingtech, therefore, include creating partnerships with water companies to reduce and even eradicate herbicide usage within their catchment areas. This will enable them to save huge sums of money in cleaning up water supplies before they are supplied to the public. In Europe, there’s particularly stringent regulation towards traditional chemical herbicide in countries such as Holland – where legislation has been passed that towns and cities cannot use herbicide post 2015. Weedingtech expects that this legislation will come to the UK in the not too distant future increasing demand for its technology. Weedingtech is not only offering nontoxic alternatives but is responding to the increasing reality that times will change, legislation will tighten, and there will be a need for everybody to be more environmentally responsible. The future seems bright for Weedingtech as there continues to be growing demand for environmentally friendly alternatives. In a world where there is an increasing desire to go green, the company has obliged. In other words, Weedingtech do not simply man the doors of ethical alternatives to weed control, they are at the very foundations of it. These days, everyone appears to be increasingly concerned about providing a safe environment for children and animals to live in. This concern is justified - the use of toxic chemicals is common, and links between them and negative medical conditions continue to grow. The next two years are exciting ones for Weedingtech. In 2014 they plan to release an agricultural product aimed at high value horticultural growers, and in 2015, a domestic product for anyone with a garden. Other possibilities for expansion are viticulture and railway companies. Ultimately, Weedingtech’s goal is to provide a weed control solution for any type of weed requirement around the world. Given the innovative nature of Foamstream, the increasing awareness of the consequences of traditional chemical herbicide use, and the motivation of the people behind the company, Weedingtech’s goal looks achievable.
For more information about Weedingtech visit www.weedingtech.com or email email@example.com.
Putting your best foot forward PAN UK has for the last three years worked in partnership with ecological footwear producers Po-Zu. Here they tell us a little about themselves, as well as providing a special offer for Pesticides News readers. Fashion is inherently wasteful, and in recent years the rate of change has accelerated so much that we now live in a disposable society. Consequently, the faster the change the greater the waste, which is frequently laden with chemicals. Thus, our environment has become the ultimate fashion victim. The fashion industry is recognised as one of the most polluting and exploitative industries with evidence linking the rise of certain human health problems and the increase in our exposure to many synthetic chemicals. As a brand that employs a non-toxic policy in order to eliminate harmful substances from their product, Po-Zu deeply values the important work of PAN UK as one of the leading charities who are working with farmers, retailers and government to reduce pesticide use. Po-Zu is an ecological shoe brand pioneer; offering maximum comfort with minimum waste. Their shoes are made using natural materials that are healthy for feet, safe for all workers throughout their supply chain, and kind to the environment. As part of its sustainable strategy Po-Zu donates 3% from every online sale to one of its four environmental charity partners, of which PAN UK is one. Po-Zu runs small-scale production lines
in partnership with their Portuguese factory, which upholds a strict non-toxic policy, operates on 72% renewable energy, and recycles over 95% of their industrial waste. To provide exceptional comfort, Po-Zu has applied a unique biomimicry design
Pesticides News 95
into its bouncy foot-mattress, based on the coconut huskâ€™s natural shock-absorber property. Their well-considered shoe construction also eliminates the need to use harmful glues by stitching all the components together, which makes their shoes more breathable, durable, repairable and recyclable.
You can find out more about Po-Zu at www.po-zu.com
Reader offer To celebrate the launch of their new Autumn Winter collection, Po-Zu is offering a special 15% discount code for our members until 1st of December. To receive 15% off your order, simply type in the following discount code at checkout: PANUK15 Free deliveries for all orders over ÂŁ100 within the E.U. Visit the Po-Zu online shop at po-zu.com 19
Pesticide Action Network UK PAN UK – Making a difference Pesticide Action Network UK works to eliminate the dangers of toxic pesticides, our exposure to them, and their presence in the environment where we live and work. Nationally and globally we promote safer alternatives, the production of healthy food and sustainable farming. Pesticide Action Network UK is an independent, non-profit organisation. We work around the world with likeminded groups and individuals concerned with health, environment and development to: Eliminate the hazards of pesticides Reduce dependence on pesticides and prevent unnecessary expansion of use ● Increase the sustainable and ecological alternatives to chemical pest control ● ●
You can subscribe to Pesticides News, donate to PAN UK and buy our publications at www.pan-uk.org
Pesticides News 95
Recent publications Bee Declines and the Link with Pesticides, 2012, Fact sheets and summary leaflet can be downloaded from: http://bees. pan-uk.org/ Communities in peril: Global report on health impacts of pesticide use in agriculture, 2010,www.panuk.org/pu blications/communitiesin-peril Paraquat: unacceptable health risks for users, 2011, http://www.evb.ch/ en/p10285.html Organic cotton systems reduce poverty and food insecurity for
Support PAN UK’s vital work There are various ways you can donate to support the vital work of PAN UK. Donate online You can donate to PAN UK online at: www.justgiving.com/pesticideactionnetworkuk Donating by Credit/Debit Card Please debit my credit/debit card £10 £25 £50 Other amount £______ Card No___________________________ Valid from ____/____ Expiry ____/____ Issue Number ____ Security No ____ Donating by Standing Order To: Bank/Building Society___________________________ Address_______________________________________________________ Account No___________________________ Sort Code___________________________ Commencing on the__________________ Please pay the sum of _______ and repeat this each month/quarter/year to : PAN UK, Ac/No.6501 0734 00, Sort Code: 08 02 28. Name: ___________________________ Address: ____________________________________________________________ Postcode: __________ Donating by Cheque Please make cheques payable to PesticidesPesticides Action Network UK and send them to: Pesticide Action Network UK, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT.
Please treat this amount as a Gift Aid donation. I confirm that I have paid UK Income Tax. Signature___________________________ Date ________________
African farm families, 2010, available at www.pan-uk.org/ foodAfrica/index.html African partner leaflets 2010, about PAN’s partners in Africa, OBEPAB, Enda Pronat and the Yakaar Niani Wulli Organic Farmers Federation, available at www.pan-uk.org/ foodAfrica/index.html My Sustainable Tshirt, 2010, an updated version of PAN UK’s definitive guide to organic cotton and ecolabelling, available at www.wearorganic.org