Pesticide free Balerno, Edinburgh
After the World Health Organisation named Glyphosate, the main ingredient of most weed killers, as a ‘probable carcinogen’, linking it to many other serious human and animal health issues, some concerned individuals in Balerno started petitioning for their street and area to become pesticide-free. As word spread, more people joined, leading to the formation of Pesticide Free Balerno in 2019. The community initiative was to raise awareness in the village about the harmful use of pesticides and ask the Council to take a precautionary approach and support safe, environmentally friendly alternatives for weed management in the village. There is now a much higher level of weed acceptance within the community and sightings of many more insects – particularly butterflies and bees.
• In 2020 Balerno went pesticide free!
• Groups and individuals from across the community are participating
• Over 80% of residents report seeing more bees and butterflies and many other kinds of insects
Starting with one street… a whole community got involved
By Annie MacDonald
Our campaign was quick to build, with lots of voices helping to spread the word. We set up an Instagram page and petition for Pesticide Free Balerno. The Pesticide Action Network (PAN UK) provided information to share with the Council and community regarding the dangers of pesticide exposure for humans, wildlife, and our environment. Local journalists, children, families, and businesses helped spread the word. We knew that hot foam and other environmentally friendly methods were being used effectively around the UK to treat weeds - Foamstream is approved by the Soil Association as safe to use around humans and animals and does not pollute our air, water or soils. We set up a demonstration for our Councillors. We took our case to the Transport and Environment Committee in February 2020, supported by PAN UK. Our deputation included young environmentalists. The Committee agreed to stop applying pesticides in Balerno!
We felt we had made a small but meaningful step in the right direction and it was worth every second!