Reaching for the weed-killer glyphosate in Germany won’t be an option much longer. A primary component of Roundup, manufactured by Bayer-owned Monsanto, glyphosate’s critics believe it wipes out insect populations essential to ecosystems and the pollination of food crops. But the controversial chemical won’t have the chance to do either, as ministers have reported that the German government is banning the use of glyphosate when the EU’s approval period expires in 2023.
“What we need is more humming and buzzing,” said environment minister Svenja Schulze to The Guardian. Schulze also added that “a world without insects is not worth living in.”
Besides killing insects, there are other experts who believe glyphosate may cause cancer in people and needs to be banned as soon as possible “What harms insects also harms people,” Schulze said.
First, glyphosate will be banned in city parks and private gardens in 2020, according to a policy plan. Additionally, using herbicides and insecticides will be restricted or banned in habitats such as grasslands, orchard fields and along the shores of Germany’s many rivers and lakes.
Champions of the ban have been loud and clear about disapproval of the weed-killer, and in February, 1.75 million people in the German state of Bavaria voted for a referendum to “save the bees.” They called for less chemical use and more organic farming and green areas. These environmentalists did face opposition from a regional agriculture association, who pushed the activists to “stop bashing farmers.”
Others opposed to the ban include farmers and the chemical industry; both sectors want to keep using glyphosate. The manufacturer fought against the government’s ban, voicing its product could be used safely and was “an important tool for ensuring both the sustainability and productivity of agriculture.”
It is not just Germany that is saying goodbye to glyphosate; in July, Austria was the first EU member to ban the weed killer. France has also decided to ban glyphosate by 2023. The chemical is scheduled to be re-evaluated in 2022 by EU authorities.
Via The Guardian
Image via Erich Westendarp