► Groups urge gov’t to follow lead of France, Denmark in reducing chemicals ►
A dozen non-governmental environmental organizations in Spain have called on the government’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and the Environment, Isabel García Tejerina, to cut Spain’s use of pesticides by 50 percent over the next decade in order to combat the pollution of Spanish rivers, lakes and aquifers and to protect bees and other insect pollinators from the highly toxic chemical substances.
A coalition of NGOs led by the Pesticides Action Network (PAN-Europe) called on García Tejerina to follow the example of the French government, which in September announced it intended to drastically cut back the use of pesticides in agriculture in France over the next five years. The organizations also urged the Spanish government to consider following Denmark’s lead in imposing a tax on pesticides to help cover the cost of long-term cleanup of toxic residues of the chemicals that find their way into Danish waterways.
According to Ecologistas en Acción (Ecologists in Action), one of the 12 groups calling on the Spanish government to scale back pesticide use, Spain is the largest consumer of pesticides in Europe and alarming amounts of toxic chemicals used in herbicides and pesticides are found in the foods sold in supermarkets and consumed on a daily basis by Spanish consumers.
The organizations participating in the call to action on pesticides also said the government should pay special attention to protecting bees and other pollinating insects essential to agriculture and the natural eco-system in Spain, which are said to be suffering massive mortality rates from the toxins contained in the agricultural chemicals.
Along with PAN-Europe and Ecologistas en Acción, other groups urging the Spanish government to take action included Greenpeace España, WWF España, Friends of the Earth, Spanish Society of Ecological Agriculture, Asociación Vida Sana and five additional environmentalist organizations.