The harm of pesticides
We are becoming more and more aware how pesticides harm bee populations and that the blame lies mainly with industrial agriculture.
Yet, industry isn’t solely responsible for the damage of pesticides on bees, given that the horticulture industry also uses a large number of toxic pesticides. Garden centres, supermarkets and DIY stores all over Europe sell ornamental plants contaminated with bee-harming pesticides and therefore have a major harmful impact on bees.
A study by Greenpeace revealed that around 97% of the more than 35 popular ornamental plants such as lavender and violets are contaminated with pesticides. Indeed, 14% of the study’s sample even contained pesticides not authorised for use in the EU. This reflects the urgent need for a rigorous approach when it comes to improving supply chain management and tracking systems in the horticulture sector.
After multiple disclosures, thanks to Greenpeace’s investigations, garden centres like the Dutch market leader Intratuin took precautions and set goals for themselves with a view to banning all pesticides toxic to bees.
Unfortunately, it appears that very little progress has been made and new investigations revealed that the number of toxic pesticides found had barely declined. To address this major problem in the horticulture sector, governments and the EU in particular should close the loopholes in the existing restrictions on imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin, ban their use in greenhouses and ensure there are policies in place to ensure that all pesticides identified as harmful are not permitted in any type of horticulture.
This would not only protect the bees, but also the consumers who buy products at these stores and centres, since they are unwitting accomplices in contaminating the environment with pesticides and putting bees at risk by buying flowers and plants for their gardens and balconies.
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