Perez Zeledón Bans the Use of Agrochemicals in Public Spaces
~ by Amy Schrift
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In a virtually unanimous vote in April of this year the Concejo Municipal of Perez Zeledón became the first municipality to bring into law a complete ban on the use of agrochemicals in public spaces; including roadsides and ditches, green areas, soccer fields, etc.
The hearing was attended by over 125 people.
Presentations were given by Bolivar Ureñas, President of Aso-Orgánicos, an association of agricultural producers that have or are undergoing organic certification, Amy Schrift, Fiscal of Aso-Orgánicos and Representative of Vida Auténtica, a nonprofit organization that provides free classes and consultation on sustainable, chemical free growing methods to local pueblos (http://www.vidaautentica.org) and Fabian Pacheco, President of the National Learning Institute (INA) in Cartago specializing in organic agriculture (www.bloqueverde.blogspot.com).
A petition with over 750 signatures was presented to the Concejo signed by residents of communities throughout Perez Zeledón and the Brunca Region.
Some of the important points were:
- Costa Rica has become the world’s largest consumer of agrochemicals per capita importing an average of 176 tons per day and applying over 18 kilos of active ingredient per hectare per year.
- There is a growing correlation between the high amounts of agrochemical residues in the food supply and the high rates of gastric stomach cancer in this country, the leading cause of death among Costa Ricans.
- Herbicides sprayed along the roadsides and ditches have been contaminating gardens and entering homes via dust and wind and are causing respiratory problems, skin rashes, asthma and migraines. These agrotoxins contaminate rivers and creeks, ending up in the ocean.
- Every municipality has the legislative authority to prohibit the use of agrochemicals in public spaces in accordance with Article 50 of Costa Rica’s constitution which guarantees the right to an ecologically sound environment for all.
- The new law will be presented to all other municipalities (81 in total) who will have a chance to vote on it as well.
INFO: Amy Schrift - [email protected]