The farmers' lobby is currently struggling at full strength against the strict demands of pesticide opponents. Two initiatives want to ban chemical sprays from agriculture. Of all, there is additional pressure on farmers from the other side: ETH researchers have developed a revolutionary way of measuring pesticides Developed in water – and discovered very toxic substances in Swiss waters. This puts pressure on the registration authorities. Now, bans on plant protection products are threatening.
The substances detected are extremely toxic to aquatic animals called pyrethroids and organophosphates. For several hours, billiards in one liter of water are deadly for small creatures in streams and rivers. For a simple reason, these substances have not been the focus of water protection authorities so far: they are subject to the same limit as for all other pesticides. And besides, you haven't been able to detect substances in such a low concentration so far.
However, what scientists at the ETH Eawag Water Research Institute have discovered in a different light is the practice of permitting the use of these toxins from the environment. The researchers used a new measurement method to analyze water from six streams. Amazing result: There was only one stream clean. In all others, scientists have measured a total of nine of these particularly problematic insecticides. Concentrations have always been above the lethal levels for these organisms.
The single border should be abolished
Marion Junghans, an Eawag researcher, said: "Measured insecticides are especially dangerous to whales and insect larvae. According to the researchers," they play an important role in the stream network and can affect the entire ecosystem, such as fish that are used by crustaceans for food but also for birds. that feed on excreted insects, "says Junghans. Her conclusion:" For many insecticides, it would make sense to replace the general pesticide limit introduced 20 years ago with a specific, much lower level. " .
The discovery of the ETH institute comes at a time that is inappropriate for farmers: the federal authorities are currently revising the Water Regulations. The standard limit of 0.1 micrograms per liter of water, which has hitherto been valid for all pesticides, should be abolished. In a draft new regulation, the Federal Ministry of the Environment and Transport (Always) has proposed much lower restrictions on some pesticides – including some substances discovered by researchers.
It is open whether the Federal Council will adopt the restrictions proposed by the Always. The government has been delaying the decision for more than a year. It has been leaked so far that some federal agencies are looking to resolve the Uvek proposal and want to spend more than lower limits on some funds. But now that highly toxic substances have been shown to be deadly in aquatic animals, the pressure is rising to lower the thresholds for other substances.
Pest opponents have been confirmed
If the limit values of all substances discovered by researchers in the coming months are actually reduced, this will have tangible consequences, as confirmed by the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG): it can lead to a ban on the drug, "says BLW spokesman Olivier Félix. Just a few weeks ago, BLW removed two of these substances – for other reasons – from the list of permitted pesticides. Bern's environmental director Christoph Neuhaus calls on the BLW to act consistently: "Critical substances are banned if they exceed limit values. Everything else is window covering."
The pests are confirmed by the results of the survey: "We have long said that the dangers are much greater than the authorities and representatives of spraying agents believe," says Franziska Herren, author of the Drinking Water Initiative. She does not believe that the new restriction rule will fix everything. The draft does not anticipate a reduction in many pesticides, but rather increases the limit values. For example, the controversial glyphosate.
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Created: 09.11.2019, 22:45 Clock