Petition to protect bee health

Petition to protect bee health

Bee on spring apple blossomThe Green Party has welcomed a report calling for a government review of a pesticide that has been partially banned overseas and may be responsible for bee deaths.

The report by the local government and environment select committee was tabled in Parliament recently in response to a petition signed by nearly 6600 people in 2008. The petition seeks better protection measures for bee health. More than 70 of the top 100 crop species, producing 90% of the world’s food, are bee-pollinated

Among other recommendations, the report says that the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) should reassess neonicotinoids, a type of insecticide used to control sap-sucking insects such as aphids. The European Union has already placed controls on the use of these insecticides in member countries.

The report also advises assessing surfactants – chemicals used to bind a pesticide to a plant – to determine if they should be registered. Reassessing chemicals that could contribute to the declining number of bees, was a step the EPA needed to take urgently, said Greens agriculture spokesman Steffan Browning. “We’d like them to take it a step further, and look at the total composition of pesticides, not just their base ingredients, to determine their effect on bee health and the health of the people consuming the food produced.”

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