The SIP Forum signed the declaration from Mayors and MEPs which was officially presented to the Round Table on Pesticide Free Towns held at the European Parliament on 27 September 2018. The swift adoption at European level of a law (already passed in France) prohibiting the use and sale of chemical pesticides in urban areas would both protect the health of people living in those areas and encourage the survival of the microrganisms, fauna and flora that live in the soil and are at severe risk from pesticides.
The SIP Forum regards support for this declaration to be a first step towards educating mayors and their administrations. Without waiting for specific laws or regulations, municipalities can take steps to implement the content of the declaration, which springs from simple good sense. Many mayors from various EU countries, and Italy in particular, have already introduced municipal regulations leading to the elimination and non-use of pesticides in the areas they govern. The first step is to start by informing and educating the municipality’s relevant operatives (gardeners, countryside rangers and wardens, waste collectors etc.) on the ban on chemical pesticide use and the need to replace them with other methods of pest control. In addition, there needs to be a municipal regulation forbidding citizens to use chemical pesticides on their land – both built-up areas and green spaces – within the urban area. Changing habits and behaviour is one of the hardest tasks, hence the need for understanding that can come from accurate information and above all from direct involvement and participation. This, in brief, is the essence of what was put forward by the mayors who were present on 27 September.
If those who are responsible for local government sign up to the “Pesticide Free Towns” declaration, they will become part of a movement of towns asking for a common system of regulation throughout EU member states. At the same time they will be able to benefit from the experiences of all the different municipalities in their quest to avoid using pesticides and other chemicals in their areas. Here the text of the declaration and please consult the website of the Pesticide Action Network – Europe, which is behind the Pesticide Free Towns campaign.