Michelle Li and the Richmond Pesticide Awareness Coalition fought to have cosmetic pesticide use banned in Richmond.

EDITORIAL: Here’s to a less toxic environment

It looks as if B.C. will soon get a ban on cosmetic pesticides.

It looks as if B.C. will soon get a ban on cosmetic pesticides.

On Thursday, newly-minted NDP leader Adrian Dix proposed legislation to ban the use of cosmetic pesticides across the province, then challenged Premier Christy Clark to take action.

Clark, who also recently became leader, says she has supported a ban for years and wants to work with the opposition and the public to work out the best way to further restrict the use of lawn and garden weed killers.

If the two leaders can work together to pass a bill it would be a promising sign that bi-partisan co-operation is possible in a forum more noted for rancorous debate.

We are not sure how much there is to study. The dumping of toxic chemicals on such “weeds” as dandelions and chickweed (which are both edible) is totally unnecessary. Why should those who can’t be bothered to weed by hand endanger others by building up a toxic environment.

The province can look to such cities as Richmond, which has had a cosmetic pesticides bylaw since 2009. (Technically, it’s herbicides that such bylaws target,  but most people involved in the debate refer to them as pesticides.) Richmond’s bylaw gives the city the power to fine homeowners up to $1,000 for using products like Roundup and Killex to maintain outdoor grass, trees, shrubs, flowers and other plants.

The bylaw came about in part from pressure from the community. The Richmond Pesticide Awareness Coalition was formed by concerned citizens, some of whom had actually been sprayed by weedicidal maniacs.

Thanks to their lobbying, the message is getting heard at the provincial level. Ontario and Quebec have already banned cosmetic pesticide use and B.C. looks set to join them.

More than 20 cities throughout B.C. have already banned cosmetic pesticide use. It’s essential to have a province-wide ban so we don’t have examples of people being able to buy their dandelion death juice from a neighbouring municipality.

So here’s to a less toxic environment, both in the legislature and on our lawns.

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