Just as you thought it was safe to venture outside in the lovely spring sunshine, watch out for men in hazmat (short for hazardous materials) suits, often on small tractors, with spray guns.
No they’re not from a new science fiction thriller being filmed in your lovely locality, they are most likely spraying glyphosate again.
Despite ever louder warnings about the unacceptably high toxicity of this chemical, the main ingredient in popular herbicides like Roundup, many local authorities are still plastering our borders and green spaces with glyphosate.
On 27 March, another California victim, terminally ill with Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma was awarded a multi-million dollar compensation payment from the manufacturer of Roundup, Monsanto, for their failure to warn him of the product’s carcinogenic potential.
Among the Councils refusing to uproot their established toxic practice and switch to modern mechanical methods of weed control is my own local Camden Council. But at least the Westminster habit of blatantly ignoring the public doesn’t seem to have travelled all the way up the Northern Line to Camden.
Granted, they are ignoring the one thousand one hundred people who have so far signed my petition urging the Council to stop spraying this “probable carcinogen” (World Health Organisation). Two Council meetings have now pushed aside the cross-party motion that resulted from that petition.
The good news is that, when Holly Lodge residents in Highgate recently wrote to the Councillor Responsible for the Environment Cllr Adam Harrison, complaining bitterly about the use of glyphosate outside their windows, the Council promptly stopped spraying there.
Another constituent wrote to say that when she voiced her objections to a spraying council contractor last week, he packed away his spray gun, turned around his tractor and left.
So taking action does work and writing to your councillors does still make a difference, they need your vote, after all!
Ask your councillors to provide you with a list of dates, times and locations where glyphosate will be sprayed around your area.
Armed with this information, you will be able to avoid such areas, if at all possible, or take appropriate measures as you see fit.
Our councillors will also know that we care very much about the dangers posed to our green spaces from the ill informed, imprudent use of toxic chemicals in their management.
To paraphrase: The only thing necessary for nasty things to happen is that good people sit about and do nothing about it! So write a postcard to your councillor or a short, sharp email will do just fine!
You can also sign my petition HERE