Portland Pesticide Ban Passed To Help Protect Honeybees

Portland banned pesticides in an effort to protect the honeybees. Elected officials in the Oregon city passed the pesticide ban ordinance on Wednesday. The law prohibits any insecticide use on public lands within the municipality. Some Portland farmers argued that pesticide or insecticide use is integral for their crop production.

The Portland City Council voted unanimously to ban pesticides and insecticides on public lands. The decision to help protect the massive honeybee population decline makes Portland the eighth city in America to ban chemical pesticides.

Beekeepers from across America have lamented the decline of their colonies for several years. A 2013 Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) report in the United Kingdom shed more than a little light on the honeybee population decline. So far, United States agricultural experts have failed to take corrective steps to combat the potentially devastating agricultural issue. A class of insecticide chemicals routinely used in America are killing off the bee population, according to the United Kingdom environmental report. The chemical culprits are typically applied to rapeseed (canola), corn, sugar beets, and a handful of other crops around the world. Related data released in the European Union confirms the threat to healthy bee colonies.

Honeybees have been disappearing at an alarming rate since 2005. Colony collapse disorder (CCD) has sparked increased efforts to preserve the pollinating insects. Approximately 70 percent of our food supply is pollinated by honeybees — if the bees die, the human race will not be far behind, many environmentalists and organic farmers maintain.

Oregonians for Food and Shelter is a coalition of farmers, foresters, and others who favor pesticide use that are working together to oppose the Portland pesticide ban. The coalition claims that scientists who believe honeybees are being killed by chemical pesticide and insecticide use have been “refuted by other researchers.” Oregonians for Food and Shelter policy director Scott Dahlman said the Portland pesticide ban was based on “fear and ideology” instead of “sound science.”

For the past 15 years, many farmers have used GMO seeds that are genetically modified to be resistant to Roundup, a popular Monsanto chemical herbicide. Monsanto also makes the seeds, which are dubbed “Roundup Ready.” Increased exposure to chemical pesticides and to herbicide-resistant or genetically modified (GMO) crops is being blamed by some for not only the death of honeybees, but also for the growth of the superweeds.

One weed, the Palmer amaranth pigweed, reportedly can grow 10 feet tall at an inch per day and possesses stems thick enough to damage agriculture equipment. Superweeds possibly caused by gentically modified plants and glyphosate chemical pesticides are a growing problem, according to agriculture experts, with huge weeds becoming more prevalent in pastures and fields around the globe.

What do you think about the Portland pesticide ban and the continuing depletion of the honeybee population?

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