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AUSTIN-- Last month, city officials responded to TexPIRG’s request for information about the use of a class of pesticide called, “neonicotinoids”. In doing so, they found to their surprise that one of their contractors had been using the class of substance despite it being against city ordinance.
Upon learning of this information, the city promptly instructed the contractor to cease their applications of the pesticide, making College Station a bee-friendly city once again.
“Sometimes all it takes is for someone to ask,” said Bay Scoggin, TexPIRG State Director. “College Station has the right policy, they just needed to enforce it. We are very happy with them for their actions today. Hopefully, this will help stir up some buzz with the other cities that seem to be bumbling this opportunity”
In an earlier TexPIRG victory, Austin voted to update the cites’ pest management plan to prohibit the use of neonicotinoids on city-lands.
Bees and other pollinators are a vital link in a functioning ecosystem and a thriving agricultural economy. We rely on bees to pollinate 71 of the 100 crops that provide 90 percent of most of the world’s food. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service estimates that honeybees contribute to more than $19 billion worth of crops each year, especially fruits and vegetables. Without bees, we won’t have enough food to eat.
Unfortunately, beekeepers report they’re losing an average of 30 percent of all honeybee colonies each year--twice the loss considered economically tolerable. Scientists have uncovered increasing evidence that a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, or neonics, is dramatically accelerating the decline.
Given the consequences for our food, we need to do all we can to protect honeybees. Instead, big agrichemical companies are fighting to expand their market share.
According to the EPA, we spray about 46 million pounds of these pesticides on our homes, gardens and public spaces every year. If we stopped spraying these chemicals in our public spaces and parks, we would remove more than 40 percent of the insecticides used in the United States.
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