The City of Quebec intends to give up herbicides based on glyphosate for its own operations and on its properties. It even evokes a desire to ban it, if such a thing is possible, throughout the territory.
Councilor Suzanne Verreault, member of the executive committee and responsible for environmental issues at the City, wants to go further than what is currently included in the Action Plan on Urban Agriculture 2020-2025, presented earlier this spring.
In this document, the final version of which is being drafted, the City expresses the wish to “determine the best ways to further restrict the use of certain pesticides”
Particular reference is made to glyphosate products, the best known of which is Monsanto’s Roundup, as well that neonicotinoids, known for their toxic effects on pollinating insects such as bees.
For the final version of the action plan, scheduled for the fall, Ms. Verreault wants the City to be even firmer. With her colleague Émilie Villeneuve, responsible for urban agriculture, she will work on a way to harden the tone.
“We will sit down again and we will see how we can readjust in the action plan so that the message is stronger“, She said in an interview with Radio-Canada.
Lead by example
The City, adds the councilor, has the power to “lead by example»On its properties and construction sites using as little harmful products as possible. It can also encourage other actors on the territory to change their habits.
Without committing to completely ban certain products such as glyphosate, she at the very least wants to verify what are the legal options available to the municipal administration. “I will definitely ask to see the possibility“, she says. “All efforts will be made, research, referencing what is done elsewhere.”
Ms. Verreault will notably look at what is happening on the side of Montreal, where the administration of Valérie Plante is in the process of banning glyphosate from its territory. In the metropolis, challenges of applying the new regulations, deemed “ambitious», Have delayed implementation from 2019 to 2021.
A complete ban means that citizens, farmers and business owners, such as golf courses, will have to find another way to get rid of weeds.
In the case of glyphosate, the City of Montreal promised to go ahead under “of the precautionary principle” The negative effects of glyphosate have indeed been the subject of intense debate for years.
Its manufacturer claims that it has no negative effect on health, but the World Health Organization classified it in 2015 as “probable carcinogenFor human health.
In the United States, Bayer, owner of Monsanto, must pay billions of dollars following legal remedies.
In Quebec, the use of pesticides and herbicides has been restricted since 2002 near sources of drinking water, mainly north of the city and near Lake Saint-Augustin.
For cases where it is not possible to escape it and “natural meansDid not work, the City may authorize the use of pesticides despite the exemption zone. However, she recommends products “low impact», Of which she draws up a list.
Golf courses are also exempt from regulation.
Everywhere else, the use of pesticides is not restricted.
The City has nevertheless undertaken to reduce its uses. Roundup may however be the only option in certain cases, recalls Suzanne Verreault. The recent dossier of the Sillery cliff path is one of those rare exceptions, she says.
To eradicate a poison ivy colony in preparation for the development of the trail, Roundup will be used in small quantities during the summer. The City is planning a single application and will use only 156 ml of the product, it promises. In this case, the City has assessed that the risk to workers’ health exceeds the risk of using Roundup.
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