It’s a Grassroots Movement, & It’s Growing: Take the Pledge to Go Pesticide Free

Mar 10, 2008

Victoria, BC- It’s time to reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides in our yards, says the Capital Regional District’s Roundtable on the Environment (RTE). Calling on Capital Region residents to “Take the Pledge to Go Pesticide Free,” the RTE’s Pesticide Use Reduction Education (PURE) working group is challenging residents to maintain their lawns by using safe, natural gardening practices.

“We can improve the safety for children, pets and the natural environment,” says Paul West, Chair of PURE. “It’s better to play it safe than to take a risk by using chemicals unnecessarily.”

Methods such as mowing lawns high, leaving grass clippings to feed the soil and aerating and de-thatching when necessary can eliminate the need to use chemical pesticides to achieve a healthy lawn.

A 2007 study on pesticide use by Capital Region residents showed overwhelming support for measures aimed at reducing the non-essential use for pesticides in their lawns and gardens. With a focus on natural lawn care, the PURE campaign encourages residents to show their commitment to using alternatives to pesticides by signing an online pledge, and then following five simple natural lawn care practices to have a vibrant, safe lawn.

"The CRD survey indicates that most residents will consider alternatives to pesticides, but they need information,” says Salt Spring Island Director Gary Holman. “The CRD's education campaign comes at an opportune time.”

The PURE working group brings together a broad range of community partners, including the majority of member municipalities of the CRD, the Islands Trust and the Canadian Cancer Society.

“This campaign exemplifies what the Roundtable on the Environment and the Regional District do best — provide technical support, raise awareness and coordinate local governments in collective and cost-effective action," says Director Holman.

In addition to the regional campaign, a growing number of local municipalities are working towards regulating pesticide use through bylaws. Victoria passed a Pesticide Use Reduction bylaw in February, while Esquimalt has a bylaw in development. A model bylaw for the Capital Region to regulate the non-essential use of pesticides has been drafted by the Roundtable on the Environment’s Pesticide Reduction Subcommittee.

Funding for this campaign has been generously donated by Victoria, Saanich, Esquimalt, View Royal, Central Saanish, North Saanich, Sidney, Highlands, Metchosin, Salt Spring Island, Southern Gulf Islands, Islands Trust, Canadian Cancer Society and the Capital Regional District (including the Roundtable on the Environment , the Solid Waste division and the Stormwater, Harbours and Watersheds Program).

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For further information please contact:
Dr. Paul West Chair, Pesticide Reduction Subcommittee
Roundtable on the Environment, CRD
Tel: 250.472.4688