Last summer, the residents of Cherry Tree, Balerno, successfully petitioned Edinburgh City Council to stop using pesticides to treat weeds. With overwhelming support, Cherry Tree became pesticide -free!
Pesticide-Free Balerno has now been formed to raise awareness in the community and help support and widen the pesticide-free area.
The notorious chemical glyphosate (under investigation around the world) is presently used for weed control. Glyphosate has been linked to chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s and cancer (and has recently been in the news connected with lawsuits in the US, Australia and Wales).
Pesticides can cause acute short term health problems, such as asthma, allergic sensitisation, nausea/vomiting/diarrhoea, headache. Nursing mothers, those pregnant, children, the elderly and those with vulnerable health conditions are extremely vulnerable. Dogs and cats are at risk too, due to their close proximity to the ground and enquiring nature! Wildlife, bees and other pollinators and insects are in steady decline and need our help.
Some councils ceased applications in their area following residents lodging health concerns. Midlothian Council stopped application of glyphosate after reports of bee death and dog sickness. London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham has been pesticide free since 2016.
Many safe and effective alternatives for weed control exist. Pesticide-Free Balerno recently invited the global company Weedingtech, to do a demonstration of their hot foam technology in Balerno. Safe for humans, animals, waterways and heritage sites, the results were extremely impressive and the councillors who attended were very engaged. Meetings are now planned but action is necessary with immediate effect to halt any further applications.
Councils would now benefit hugely from our voiced community support to enable this transition.
Community feedback from our stall at the recent Balerno Farmer’s Market was:
•we must make the most vulnerable in our community a priority over weeds
•we have to protect the environment for future generations
•we must protect the bee, biodiversity and wildlife along with our precious pets
•we have to help the council with lowering weed complaints in the community
•we have to let the councillors know the community do not want any further exposure of this chemical forced upon them.
The popularity of this initiative was clear and with the support of our councillors and the community we can make this change.
Balerno is set to be the leading light on this environmental change!
If you would like to see Balerno Pesticide-Free and would like to play your part protecting our planet:
•please email your councillor again to let them know - human health and our environment is more important than weeds.
•Please sign our petition on 38 degrees -‘Pesticide-Free Balerno’
•contact us for a ‘Petition your street’ form
•talk about and share this initiative with friends and family
•Contact Pesticide Action Network UK for further information
We also aim to create volunteer weeding groups. Many people who are able are simply taking 10-20 minutes to remove the weeds outside their house to avoid direct spraying here.
To participate or for further information please contact us on 07979 717485 or follow us on Instagram @pesticidefree.balerno
Facebook: Pesticide Free Edinburgh
Article published in Konect September 2019
Author: Pesticide Free Balerno.