Tuesday, May 16, 2017 by Rhonda Johansson
Councilman Billy O’Connell of Huntington Beach, Orange County, California, has proposed a year-long pilot study to have portions of Central Park West use organic pesticides instead of synthetic ones. This move by the seaside city is meant to address the growing concern its citizens have with the many recorded adverse health effects synthetic pesticides provide. These recommendations were unanimously approved by the City Council during the first week of May, making Huntington Beach the third in Orange County to move to a more natural method of pest and weed management.
In an official interview with the OCRegister.com, O’Connel said, “Many agencies are now considering moving away from the reliance on synthetic pesticides in order to limit exposure to the general public, including children and pets. I propose that the City investigate the use of organic herbicides.” In O’Connell’s draft, he recommended that Public Works give updates every six months, with the end of the year signaling either the success or failure of the transition. If the Council finds positive improvement in the safety of its crops, O’Connell hopes to make the policy part of their Integrated Pest Management Program. Councilwoman Jill Hardy has, however, further suggested that updates be made every three months instead of six for better tracking and improved transparency. To this suggestion, O’Connell has been recorded as saying, “I’m open to expanding this. I feel it’s important to our children.”
These initiatives made by Orange County are seen to be part of the ongoing battle California is having with synthetic pesticides. Only recently was the state involved in a legal argument with Roundup manufacturer, Monsanto, after members of the Californian government announced their intention to list the main active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, as a known carcinogen. Monsanto retaliated by suing the state over the designation as it would force them to place a warning label on its products. After a few months of deliberation, a California judged ruled against the company, and allowed a cancer warning to be placed on each container of Roundup.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. praised the ruling, saying on EcoWatch.com, “It’s great to see democracy is alive and well in California where judges are still willing to stand up for science, even against the most powerful corporate polluters. This decision gives Californians the right to protect themselves and their families from chemical trespass.”