More than 1,000 people petition against weed killer
More than one thousand people have signed a petition calling on Sheffield Council to stop using a controversial weed killer.
Extinction Rebellion activist Graham Wroe submitted a Freedom of Information requestsh which found the council used 1,750 litres of glyphosate last year on Sheffield’s pavements, verges and parks.
Campaigners say the chemical is dangerous to bees and other pollinators and refer to the World Health Organisation, which is concerned it could be carcinogenic to humans.
The organisations backing the petition are Extinction Rebellion Sheffield, Sheffield Green Parents, Sheffield Green Party and Sheffield Greenpeace.
Mr Wroe said: “Thanks to the amazing work of Extinction Rebellion, many more people are now aware of the climate emergency. Fewer people, however, realise we also face an ecological emergency.
“The rapid loss of species we are seeing today is estimated by experts to be between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate. We are currently experiencing the 6th mass extinction.
“Insects may not be popular, but we need to remember that without pollinators we lose our food supply. Glyphosate is contributing to the loss of our insects when there are many safe alternatives.”
Sheffield Council said it continually liaised with other local authorities and horticultural chemical suppliers looking at alternatives.
Coun Mary Lea, cabinet member for parks, said: “Over the last two years we have introduced the use of Flazasulfuron. This has reduced the use of glyphosate, keeping areas weed free for 12 months.
“We continue to look at alternative management regimes where appropriate, naturalising areas, woodland planting, mulching borders to reduce chemical usage where possible.
“A trial will take place in the parks service later this year looking at a glyphosate alternative. The active ingredient is pelargonic acid, a natural occurring ingredient that degrades into natural elements.
“Initial indications are positive. Glyphosate is still approved for use in the UK and is currently used by the vast majority of local authority contractors and farmers through the UK.”