Glyphosate is a herbicide and desiccant applied to crops before
harvest. It is used to kill weeds and grasses that compete with the
growing crop. Glyphosate is harmful to human health (risk of
cancer) and has negative impacts on ecosystems (soil, fungus,
insects,...). The chemical was initially put into use in the 1970s
to counteract the problems caused by the pesticides being used at
the time (drift, crop damage, reducing efficacy, the risk to human
health (1)). It was originally considered to be non-toxic (2), and
now residues are found in water, soil and food. An investigation by
the WHO (2015) labelled it as "probably carcinogenic to humans"
(Group 2Acarcinogen) (3), and a jury in Los Angeles has also found
a weedkiller containing glyphosate to have been a substantial
factor in a man developing cancer.
Glyphosate has, according to recent studies, been linked to the death of bees. It weakens their gut bacteria making them more susceptible to disease leading to a higher bee mortality rate. Bees play an essential role in our ecosystem because of their primary mission, which is pollination. This action allows plants to reproduce. Bees are among the most effective pollinating insects alongside wasps and butterflies. Globally, there are more honey bees than any other pollinating insects. They are vital to pollinate the plants that produce the food that we eat to survive.
Pollination is vital to the health of the global food system. And a single bee colony can pollinate 300 million flowers in one day. If the bees go extinct, a ripple effect will be felt through the ecosystems, such as a plant die-off that will impact the entire food chain. "The absence of bees and other pollinators would wipe out coffee, apples, almonds, tomatoes, and cocoa, to name just a few of the crops that rely on pollination," Graziano da Silva, scholar and director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization from 2012 to 2019.
The succession of lawsuits filed against Monsanto for the use of
glyphosate in its products and the success of a number of these
should tell us about the danger that is posed primarily to
employees of the city councils who have regular contact with
glyphosate products, also to its citizens, and to local
The following countries have taken steps to restrict or ban the use of glyphosate herbicides: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Vietnam (4). According to many of the above countries, the reason for the ban is due to its carcinogenicity, with some also quoting it as an endocrine-disrupting chemical. Six member states of the EU (France, Belgium, Greece, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Malta) sent a letter to the European Commission calling for a study to be conducted into possible alternatives, following the controversial renewal of its licencing in the EU in 2017.
In the UK, many councils have started to move away from the use of glyphosate, issuing bans or restrictions on pesticides and herbicides: Brighton, Bristol, Bury (ban in children's play areas), Croydon (Banned as of 2019), Derry City (Northern Ireland), Frensham, Frome, Glastonbury (banned glyphosate spraying on council-owned land and public spaces), Hammersmith & Fulham (Banned for spraying in parks), Lewes, Midlothian (Scotland), North Somerset (Banned in children's playing fields), Trafford, Wadebridge and Manningtree.
It is essential to understand, from the council's point of view, if weeds get out of control, they can cause problems on kerb, channels and footways, damage surface infrastructure and collect litter. However, the city council can use other techniques for killing weed, such as hot foam. Switching to a non-chemical approach to this problem can reduce the risks involved in the storage, handling, use and disposal of herbicide products such as those containing glyphosate.
This petition requests Southampton City Council to ban the use of glyphosate in Southampton city parks and premises.
This ePetition ran from 18/05/2021 to 28/10/2021 and has now finished.
189 people signed this ePetition.