Toronto takes steps to ban pesticides within 2 years

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by tomoaktree, Jul 28, 2001.

  1. tomoaktree

    tomoaktree LawnSite Member
    from WNY
    Messages: 114

    Thought some of you guys would be interested in this article that was forwarded to me from Cornnell County Extension.

    >Subject: [Fwd: Toronto takes steps to ban pesticides within 2 years]
    >Tuesday, July 17, 2001 - Print Edition, Page A1 The City of Toronto has
    >taken its first steps to ban pesticides used on lawns for cosmetic purposes.
    >Amid warnings that weeds and grubs will soon get the upper hand, the board
    >of health voted yesterday to endorse a bylaw that would end the cosmetic use
    >of pesticides on lawns and gardens, likely within two years. City health
    >authorities worry that pesticides may cause cancer, particularly among
    >children, and want spraying around homes stopped. "We're at the beginning of
    >a process where the city is going to look at . . . phasing out pesticides on
    >private property," said Joe Mihevc, a city councillor who chairs the board
    >of health. Toronto is the first big city trying to phase out pesticides
    >since the Supreme Court last month upheld a bylaw by the Quebec community of
    >Hudson restricting weed and bug killers. Under Toronto's approach, the
    >spraying of lawns by homeowners to kill such weeds as dandelions would not
    >be allowed, although there may be exceptions, such as for pesticide use to
    >kill allergy-causing plants. The deliberations in Toronto likely will be
    >repeated across the country, as communities react to the court ruling.
    >Environmental groups are pushing for bylaws restricting pesticides in 11
    >other Ontario communities. Those include Ottawa, London and Kitchener, and
    >smaller communities such as Stratford and Milton. From the tone of debate in
    >Toronto, it's clear that the discussions will be acrimonious. Pesticide
    >supporters, worried that a phaseout will cost them their jobs, jeered
    >yesterday at a politician who argued for the ban. Some horticulturists
    >expressed worry yesterday that the city is trying to take away "tools" that
    >keep unwanted plants and insects at bay. "The public is not going to accept
    >weeds and grubs," said Tony DiGiovanni, spokesman for Landscape Ontario, a
    >horticultural trade association. Yesterday, Mr. Mihevc said the city wants
    >to proceed slowly. "We're not looking to ram anything down anyone's throat."
    >The city, he said, will try to have "a rational, reasonable" approach. Some
    >politicians have expressed concern that the city will appear unkempt, if
    >weeds proliferate. John Filion, another councillor, said many residents tell
    >him that the city, which has phased out most pesticides in parks, looks
    >dowdy. "The weeds are out of control, and I don't take the complaints of the
    >residents on that lightly." Mr. Filion accused fellow councillors of
    >intolerance with their desire to ban practices they find objectionable. They
    >"couldn't care less what the average person out there thinks." For residents
    >worried about the health consequences of herbicides and insecticides, ending
    >their use can't come fast enough. Douglas Counter, an Etobicoke organic
    >gardener whose rare plants have been featured in garden publications,
    >yesterday recounted to city politicians his horror when a lawn-care company
    >this spring hosed down his yard with pesticides by mistake. "I am outraged,"
    >he told city politicians yesterday. He said it will take three years before
    >his lot is considered organic again, and he is angry that the spray company
    >claims its product is safe. "In fact, the manager said the chemicals are so
    >safe he could drink the formula right out of his truck." Mr. DiGiovanni of
    >the horticulture association is concerned that some of the 7,000 to 12,000
    >people who work among the 1,200 companies licensed in Ontario to spray lawns
    >could lose jobs. Cheryl Chour of the Organic Landscape Alliance doesn't
    >agree. She said companies in her trade association can't keep up with demand
    >from homeowners who hate bug and weed sprays. "Most OLA members are
    >experiencing growth upwards of 30 per cent a year for the last several
    >years," she said. "Far from putting people out of work, a pesticide
    >restriction would encourage the growth of an economically and
    >environmentally sustainable industry." The city has been pondering a ban for
    >years but didn't act because of uncertainly over whether municipalities have
    >the legal right to impose restrictions. The Supreme Court ruling eliminated
    >that doubt. "Municipalities have been given the green light. Toronto and
    >cities across Canada must commit to restricting the use of pesticides for
    >cosmetic purposes," said Rich Whate of the Toronto Environmental Alliance.
  2. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,555

    If psticides are banned,that whole area will look ragged,and unkept.They will be mowing weeds every other day,if they want it to even resemble a lawn.The insect problem,couldnt have been timed worse,right on the heels of the West Nile virus,forget what the insecticide does-what about the Virus?I feel the ban will be short lived,once weeds ,and bugs overtake the city,enough people will complain,and the law will be repealed.
  3. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 424

    I work in Toronto and last year the weed control of a major street median was contracted out to a company using one of those steam hot water weed killing machines. It took 2 people 1 week to do the job. I won,t mention the pollution caused by an idling truck for one week, the gas power honda engine running the water pump and the fuel burned to heat the water up. The weeds were killed instantly but were back within 1 month. This year the job was contracted out to a company using Roundup. One guy, one day and a much longer kill. John I hope you are right that the ban would be short lived. But one thing is certain that when it goes through there will be a lot of rejuvination landscape work after a few years
  4. powerreel

    powerreel Banned
    Messages: 481

    'The times they are a changin'!'
  5. kermit

    kermit LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    Better get with the program guys, the future is NOW! In all seriousness this is a great business oportunity. Start offering non chemical lawn care now, before the competition follows because they have to. No licence needed,no extra insurance,plus the customers are ussually more tolerant of weeds etc.

    We have offered organic lawn care for years and the customers lawns look great. Many commercial clients are very concious of their public image and we are able to help them present an environmentally friendly face to the world.

    There is no reason to use chemicals. PERIOD. Only laziness or a lack of horticultural knowledge can be used as an excuse for a need for chemicals in the garden. Chemicals are a crutch used by those who don't know proper horticultural practices. Many of us make a good(maybe great) living offering non-chemical care.

    As a member of the OLA I have confidence that our methods of lawn/garden care are the healthy alternatives. It takes more knowledge and commitment to maintain properties properly but the rewards both monetary and mental are worth it.

    As long as there are lazy/ignorant LCO's out there using chemicals we will have problems with our environment.
  6. guntruck

    guntruck LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 527

    Kermit sorry for my ignorance but what would a natural weed control be?
  7. LoneStarLawn

    LoneStarLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,415

    Corn-glutten meal is an organic pre-emergent weed control and a high % of vinegar and lemon juice for a non-selective weed and grass killer. There are others.
  8. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 424

    Sorry to disagree Kermit. I don't believe in the indiscrimanant use of chemicals, but there are times when they are neccessary and make sense. I believe in Integrated pest management. This combines the best of all worlds for the control of pests and diseases. Chemicals can be a crutch if used wrongly but they can also be an intellegent and indespensable tool for modern horticulture in urban situations. When a hoard of insects fly in and eat your flowers in the course of a couple of days all the predatory insects in the world won't get control over them in time. And don't you believe soap spray and the organic pesticides like perithrum (spell} or rotenone are any safer than the none organics. The world is changing but lets change sensebly. As long as people want ornamental horticulture they are going to need some chemical help from time to time.
  9. kermit

    kermit LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    DAN, I don't use rotenone or pyrythrom, and the idea that a million bugs will desend and wipe out the grass and flowers is so silly I won't even bother to reply to.
    Are you trying to tell me that there weren't any nice looking landscapes prior to the introduction of chemicalscirca 1945? Utter nonsense!
  10. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 424

    Of course there were many nice looking landscapes before 1945. But there were a lot less and they were extremely labour intensive. Also if you look in old gardening books look at some of the chemicals they were using way back in the late 1800's. I still say we need to balance not flip all the way over. We don't have the manpower and money to do everything totally pesticide free. Sometimes to make things work in the time frame we have, you have to use every tool available. Are you proposing we do every thing by hand so that we don't pollute the air by gas powered equipment.

    And the idea that insects won't damage something quickly is silly too. 2 weeks ago I had an area planted with Helichrysum destroyed in 3 days by caterpillers. We hand picked them every day in that area and the plants were toast. Another area we sprayed with sevin and these plants are still excellent. This was were the chemical made sense. The area where the plants were destroyed will never look good again this year.

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