Pesticide residues in the Great Barrier Reef
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is one of the world’s most iconic World Heritage-listed ecosystems but is currently under threat from a range of environmental insults including climate change and pollution. Recent reseach has shown that herbicides from agricultural runoff have been found in the GBR lagoon at concentrations capable of harming keystone marine plants. The agricultural sector and state and national governments have responded by encouraging the implementation of improved management practices across the GBR catchment area. Stephen Lewis, Rob Milla, Jon Brodie, Zoë Bainbridge and Aaron Davis report.
Birds and pesticides: is the threat of a silent spring really behind us?
What would Rachel Carson say if she came back today? Would she still be sounding the alarm about a world without the sound of birds in our fields and forests? In this year’s Rachel Carson Memorial Lecture, Senior Research Scientist for Environment Canada Pierre Mineau describes why Rachel Carson warned of a ‘silent spring.’Dr. Mineau discusses what happened when we switched from organochlorines like DDT to newer pesticides that were less persistent but dangerous to birds in different ways. Forty-seven years after the publication of Carson’s ground-breaking book, uncounted millions of birds around the world continue to die from pesticides. The industry still resists regulation and governments are slow to deal with the problem. Nevertheless, Dr. Mineau sees some reasons for hope.
Shropshire sheep control weeds in orchards
Fruit growers in Europe have found a novel way to reduce the use of herbicides known to contaminate ground and surface waters in many countries. Pippa Geddes and Raimund Kohl report on how Shropshire sheep are being used to control weeds in orchards.
EU biocide proposals fail to protect health and the environment
On 12 June 2009 the EU Commission published its draft regulation to review current biocide legislation, a step necessary due to the numerous shortcomings in the implementation of the 1998 Biocidal Product Directive. PAN Germany is highly critical of the draft which privileges the interests of a risky chemical industry. Christian Schweer reports.
Pesticide education for school children in Nigeria
With the first phase of the Africa Stockpiles Programme due to end in 2010/2011, NGOs are looking to the future - how to sustain the impacts of the programme once funding ends. In Nigeria, PAN UK supported an innovative project to educate the farmers and decision makers of tomorrow. Ndubuisi Adikuru and Christopher Echereobia report on its success.
Pesticides in well water increase risk of Parkinson’s disease
Although first described over 100 years ago the causes of Parkinson’s disease are still not clear. However, several lines of evidence implicate exposure to pesticides. Nicole Gatto, Myles Cockburn, Jeff Bronstein, Angelika Manthripragada and Beate Ritz review the area and report on their most recent findings.
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