Pesticide linked to bird decline
Reacting to new research published today (Wednesday 9 July 2014) in the Nature journal, showing that wild bird populations in the Netherlands are decreasing rapidly in the areas most heavily polluted with neonicotinoid pesticides, Friends of the Earth Nature Campaigner Paul de Zylva said:
“The Government needs to learn about ‘the birds and the bees’. It must stop claiming there is no evidence of harm from pesticides and start helping farmers to produce and protect their crops without relying on toxic chemicals.
“The evidence of pesticides harming our hard-working bees, our soil and water and now also birds is overwhelming.
“The European ban on neonicotinoids should now be extended to cover all uses. How many more species must be added to the endangered list before stronger action is taken?”
Notes to editors
1. On 24 June, the initial results of the Global Task Force on Systemic Pesticides concluded that bee-harming neonicotinoids are also harming wider wildlife, our soils and water. The Task Force stated that systemic chemicals such as neonicotinoids are “causing significant damage to a wide range of beneficial invertebrate species and are a key factor in the decline of bees” even at low doses. http://www.tfsp.info/press/
2. In 2013 the European Union introduced a short, two year restriction on some uses of three of the main systemic pesticides known as neonicotinoids. The restriction is based on the most comprehensive review of evidence carried out by both European and British scientists. Their review concluded that the chemicals in question pose a ‘high acute risk’ to bees. The European restriction is not a complete ban and the chemicals can still be used on crops, such as sugar beet, and crops that do not attract bees when they flower. http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/130116.htm