Independent report criticizes Europe’s pesticide policy

Posted Mar 11, 2016 by Tim Sandle
The ombudsman (office for independent complaints) has criticized the European Commission’s handling of pesticides across the European Union.
Bee a Kew gardens
Bee a Kew gardens
European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has voiced serious concerns about the European Commission’s regulation of pesticides. This follows a complaint made by the charitable and campaign groups Pesticide Action Network Europe and Générations Futures.
According to the Journal de l’environnement, Pesticide Action Network Europe alleged “people and the environment had been exposed to serious unknown, yet possible, risks” in relation to certain pesticides that were allowed to be used.
The Ombudsman found out-of-date protocols were being followed and that some of the pesticides authorized had not been through appropriate checks or balances. These activities were found to be “contrary to the principles of good administration.” Moreover, O’Reilly wrote there were “possible consequences for human health, animal health and the environment, such inadequacies are particularly worrying.”
The findings also indicate that individual EU countries have been given too much independence and that a common European approach for the control and authorization of pesticides is clearly needed.
In related news, on a global front, the IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services), has said a considerable number of pollinator species (like honeybees) are at the risk of extinction. This is due to human impact on habitat and the way that certain pesticides are used — with neonicotinoid insecticides called out as the most dangerous.
The IPBES (a United Nations organization) argues that pesticide use must be restricted and that alternative forms of pest management need to be considered, such as crop rotation.
The matter is regarded as being of economic and social importance; 75 percent of the world's food crops that depend at least in part on pollination, and the value of agriculture that could be lost should the pollinators decline is between $235 billion–$577 billion.