Nova Scotia’s Pesticides bylawIn 2003 it was first instituted in the HRM, the pesticide bylaw that restricted the use of pesticides and herbicides on residential and municipal properties in our fair city, unless written permission is granted. It was quite a forward thinking motion at the time, and as many have discovered, there are plenty of alternatives to pesticides. Landscapers at the Public Gardens have discovered that very thing: It’s been reported they use “home remedy” methods to deter pesky insects, including soap, garlic and rhubarb.

And though this bylaw is a full five years in the books, a battalion of poisonous and carcinogenic pesticides are still available on store shelves, because though it’s still illegal to use products such as Roundup and Killex, it isn’t illegal to sell them.

In May of 2007, The Coast’s Sustainable City reporter (now news editor) Tim Bousquet did some research on the subject, and found that 628 people in 2006 received permits to use pesticides on intractable infestations such as chinch bugs, but that doesn’t justify the wide availability of the sprays. He listed a few local stores that still carry the pesticides, but credited Farmer Clem’s (389 Bedford Hwy, 443-4391) with having taken the sprays off the shelves and a knowledgeable staff that offered him organic alternatives.

Chris Benjamin is the Healthy Lawn Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre. He hasn’t seen any of the businesses Bousquet mentioned in his article voluntarily taking those products off their shelves, but he feels pesticide use has decreased because landscaping companies are no longer using them.

Benjamin also has seen the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities request of the province that every municipality should be able to sign on if they want to replicate the bylaw. Perhaps even improve on it, because any replication will still allow retail sales to continue unabated.

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