EU totally bans bee-harming pesticides

Concerns over the health of honeybees and other pollinators have led the EU to push for a total ban. AGENCIES

Concerns over the health of honeybees and other pollinators have led the EU to push for a total ban. AGENCIES

Neonicotinoids were already banned for flowering crops like oilseed rape, after concerns were raised about their potential impact on the health of bees and pollinators.

"The EU's groundbreaking ban on bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides is a huge win for pollinators, people and the planet".

"Banning these toxic pesticides is a beacon of hope for bees", Avaaz's Antonia Staats told the BBC. A scientific review conducted by the Pesticides Unit of the European Food Safety Authority showed that the outdoor usage of clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam poses a confirmed risk to bumblebees, solitary bees, and honeybees.

The basis for the ban was the report of the head of the agrarian Commission of the European Union Paul Derra, who stated that in Europe beekeeping is under threat of extinction because of the mass death of bees.

EU member States on Friday approved a proposal from the European Commission to ban the use in the open of three pesticides found to be harmful to bees. "The public can support them themselves by planting flowering pollinators in their gardens and using products which support nature". Symbolically, this could usher in a new age, where sustainable practices and environmental safety are placed on the same pedestal as profits.

The alarming drop in bee populations is concerning not only because of the risk of extinction in some bee species but also because bees play an important role in the environment and in food production.

Meanwhile, environmental groups have been extremely supportive of the decision. It is however, incumbent on ministers and officials in the European Union and the United Kingdom to think about the real world business impacts of these decisions, and work with us to provide the necessary support for farmers who need to find ways to combat pests, control costs and produce food efficiently.

Scientists have many theories on the reason for the decline - from diseases and parasites - but pesticide exposure has gained the most criticism as studies continue to point to its impact on the bees' health. A recent, study revealed that 75% of all flying insects have disappeared in Germany in the past 25 years - with the exact causes of this ecological Armageddon being unclear.

The way neonicotinoids work is by "integration throughout a plant's structure", NPR reported. This means that while they are effective at killing off some pests, they are also having unwanted effects on the rest of the environment.

He added that farmers were "acutely aware" that bees played a crucial role in food production, and had planted 10,000 football pitches of flower habitat across the United Kingdom to support the insects.

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