More French cities to become pesticide free

In France, many local authorities have banned the use of pesticides near residential areas, including Parisian and Dijon. This is a precautionary measures, and as of this month, Paris, Lille, Nantes, Grenoble, and Clermont-Ferrand jointly announced that these areas would become pesticide-free.

The increasing number of anti-pesticide orders being implemented in common housing areas is putting more and more pressure on the French government. Mayors are also beginning to launch public consultations on the risks of pesticides and what the safe distances should be for their use.

Currently, there aren’t any global rules on using pesticides near populated areas. National governments make their own regulations, and the French government has now launched a consultation on setting the minimum distance between spraying pesticides and peoples’ homes.

For now, the government is planning to create “pesticide-free zones”, which would be around five metres for low crops, cereals, and vegetables, and 10 metres for high crops, fruit tress, and vines. These distances are based on a report by Anses, the national food safety agency.

This follows campaigns throughout Europe to ban the controversial weed killer, glyphosate, which many people believe to be cariogenic. The German government just announced it will be banning glyphosate by the end of 2023 in order to protect the environment and the health of the public.

Last week, the president of Val-de-Marne council also announced that he would be banning the use of glyphosate in the region, while joining the anti-pesticide movement. By joining the movement, he hopes that it will move France towards reducing its use of pesticides in the future.

However, environmental campaigners have argued that the government’s proposals don’t go far enough to make an impact. For example, they believe the distances aren’t enough, and that there should be at least a 150 metre pesticide-free zone around peoples homes to protect their health.

The government is struggling to make progress on these matters, including in banning glyphosate, neonicotinoids. The objectives set out in 2018 by the French government have, therefore, been postponed until 2025 due to a lack of progress.

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