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Dec 8, 2011

Projected Increasing Pesticide Pollution in EU Waters Highlighted as CAP Buffer Areas Debated

On 8 December 2012, EurActiv.com reported on projections that pesticide contamination will worsen throughout Europe in the upcoming decades.  Interviews on the topic were conducted with the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig.  This information was then juxtaposed against pending proposals to change the Common Agriculture Policy, including how to incentivize farmers to use buffer areas, switch to crop rotation, and reduce fertilizer and pesticide use.

According to Matthias Liess, head of ecotoxicology at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig, projects through 2090 show that pesticide "levels have been rising in many central and southern European countries for 20 years with the biggest growth expected in areas that now have relatively low agriculture pesticide pollution."  They conclude that "climate conditions – including warming in Scandinavia and the Baltics - will require farmers to use more and more insecticides to protect crops. ... This will have devastating effects on biodiversity as farmers fend off invading insects while water contamination kills native species that are part of the food chain for birds, fish and other stream wildlife." The researchers estimate that "in the decades ahead, some 40% of Europe’s waterways will be degraded."

The researchers recommend "a reduction in pesticide through organic farming [with] the most effective approach, the creation of buffer areas along streams to filter out chemical runoff."  This is part of proposals included in the pending EU "greening" plan for agriculture that is scheduled for approval in 2014.

Since 2011, the European Crop Protection Association has implemented a training program to teach European farmers how to reduce the impact of pesticide run-off and drift in waterways. The budget for this program is estimated at €2-million and the targeted audience is 350,000 farmers in seven countries

For more see: "Study warns of worsening pesticide pollution," EurActiv.com, 8 Dec. 2011.

About Margaret


CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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