Here’s to encouraging results. The Quebecois government’s new regulation dealing with the use of five pesticides known as « the most dangerous in Quebec » was passed this week.
It’s a victory for environmentalists all over the province as it has been seven years that pressure groups and other organizations have been asking the government to take action.
The new regulation seeks to abolish five pesticides:
-three neonicotinoids also known as « bee killers ». We believe that these insecticides are toxic products which attack insects’ nervous system. We condemn them for their slow biodegradability, their persistent toxic effect, and their pollution of nature. In addition, these pesticides have negative effects on insects (bees and butterflies) as well as on their predators (birds, mice, moles and bats),
-atrazine, a herbicide and pesticide used in the cultivation of corn and soya and which harms the hormonal system of frogs and which is found in drinking water,
-chlorpyriphos, a substance which is used to fight against insects (lice, caterpillars and flies) in plantations, vineyards and fruit and vegetable production.
From now on, growers will have to obtain a certification to use these pesticides, to keep a record, and to maintain a minimal distance from water sources. As for the Quebec government, it will hand over $14 million over five years to ban these harmful substances.
Isabelle Melançon, the ministre du Développement durable et de l’Environnement, explained to journalists that this is an « alarming situation » and insisted that climate change is a cause for concern. In order to rectify the situation, Mrs. Melançon brought forth that the government has to adopt more restrictive mesures in the future, a statement which was applauded by a number of environmentalists such as the President of the Ordre des agronomes, Michel Duval, and the President of la Fédération des apiculteurs du Québec, Stéphane Leclerc.
However, the reaction of the Producteurs de grains du Québec was extremely cold. During a press conference, the figure representing the association, Christian Overbeek, loudly attacked the government’s plan. He declared : « The new regulation and restrictions on pesticides is excessive and costly. It can be scientifically contested and is authoritarian by nature. It is useless and demotivating. »
However, according to many environmental experts, this regulation is the first step in the right direction. Indeed, our neighbours in Ontario have already taken a few steps forward by limiting the use of neonicotinoids during the winter of 2013 and 2014. We have the right to ask ourselves: what will Quebec do?