Shouldn’t the council play it safe and stop using glyphosate?

News Desk (31 August, 2018) Columnists

GREEN SOUTHWARK: Donnachadh McCarthy - In 2015, the World Health Organisation officially added the commonly used pesticide ingredient glyphosate to the list of probable causes of cancer

11037News columnist Donnachadh McCarthy

A couple of years ago over a 2-month period, ten people I knew were diagnosed with cancer.

MacMillan Cancer Support say a staggering 50% of people in UK will have cancer in their lifetimes. This equates to an estimated 144,000 people in Southwark may get cancer.

In 2015, the World Health Organisation officially added the commonly used pesticide ingredient glyphosate to the list of probable causes of cancer.

Last month, a US court awarded a grounds-person $289 million dollars compensation for the cancer they found he contracted due to his job spraying the chemical.

So this column contacted Southwark Council to ask them if they were using this chemical. They confirmed that 1,500 litres per year are sprayed on the borough’s roads and council estates.

Cllr Livingstone, the Southwark councillor who is in charge of “Environment & Air Quality” said “We are careful to ensure the safe use of herbicides, in line with government guidelines.”

Way back in the mid-nineties when I was a councillor, my constituents on the Aylesbury Estate complained of chemical-allergies to the chemicals sprayed on our council estates, streets and parks. With the Lib Dems, we successfully got the then Labour administration to ban them. They switched to manual-weeding and won several national awards for protecting residents from such chemicals.

However, when elected the Lib Dem/Tory coalition under Nick Stanton reversed their own policy and started spraying our streets again with chemicals.

The new Labour administration, under Cllr Peter John has continued this renewed spraying.

Just two weeks ago, a man in a white moon-suit went along my street again spraying everywhere. The tree-pits which should be full of wild-flowers are 100% dead.

Cllr Livingstone also said “We are keen to adopt and always on the look-out for alternative solutions.”

If you think as I do, that Cllr Livingstone should adopt the precautionary principle and adopt the non-chemical solutions that he himself and his own Labour colleagues on the council used successfully for over a decade then you can politely email him at Richard.livingstone@southwark.gov.uk

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