Pesticide free management of green public areas

Last 27 February, the webinar[1]Pesticide free management of green public areas” took place. It was the first training event organised by PAN Europe as part of its Campaign on “Pesticide Free Towns”. PAN (Pesticide Action Network) is a Brussels-based NGO founded in 1987 and is committed to fight against the use of pesticides (see the October 2017 Newsletter n.40 for a brief introduction to PAN ).

The European Network of Pesticide Free Towns is a PAN project that seeks on the one hand to gather a critical mass of towns and cities committed to stopping the use of pesticides, and on the other hand to act as a European platform where experiences, practices, and knowledge can be shared and mutual support can be offered.

Amongst the Webinar participants was Michela Bilotta, the project coordinator for Italy. She underlined how important it was for the municipalities that have decided to ban the use of pesticides in public areas to raise awareness amongst its citizens via a variety of tools, by creatively resorting to social media, poster boards, etc. Many French and Flemish municipalities have already done so.

Professor Fabio Taffetani, tenured professor of the Marche Polytechnic University delivered a very interesting speech, describing the type of spontaneous plants that would reappear in fields over the years once the ground cover is removed with manual or chemical weeding.

As for Filippo Moretto, from the environmental office of the town of Occhiobello (Rovigo), he looked at the different initiatives and sustainable procedures in terms of managing green areas. Moreover, Occhiobello was the first municipality to sign up to the European Network of Pesticide Free Towns, adopting a forward-looking environmental policy.

Nicoletta Vai, from the plant-protection department for the Emilia-Romagna Region gave an inspiring talk on the activities carried out and the results obtained by the Region pursuant to the National Action Plan. Nicoletta Vai described the various achievements, but did not refrain from expressing her regret concerning the lack of authorised organic products, whether for public green areas as well as for organic areas.

Andrea Peruzzi, Agricultural Mechanics lecturer at Pisa University, delivered a presentation that was more on the technical side. He gave an overview of the available machinery for the sustainable management of public green spaces.

This webinar was a great opportunity to discuss, learn, and exchange on good practices, in accordance with the European Network of Pesticide Free Towns. In the light of the event’s success, many more similarly informative meetings will surely take place. There is a host of good reasons why one should be part of the network, not least because it gives visibility to the territory at the European level. PAN Europe provides all the participating municipalities (to name a few: Varese, Bolzano, Belluno, Ragusa, Casalduni, Guardia Sanframondi, Limatola, Morozzo, Robilante, Barge, Bastida Pancarana, Volvera, Occhiobello) with information and visibility thanks to all of its communication tools.

1: Webinar is a neologism given by the fusion of “web” and “seminar”. It indicates education or information sessions, which remote participation via informatics connections. 

Registration of the whole webinar is available here

More information on the European Network of Pesticide Free Towns to Michela Bilotta