The portal “Manabalss.lv” has collected 10,000 signatures to introduce a ban on the use of pesticides in Latvia within a radius of one kilometer around the place where at least one person has been declared to have a place of residence.
The Ministry of Agriculture emphasizes that this initiative is rather hasty. Taking into account the population density, this would in fact mean a ban on the spread of plant diseases in the territory of Latvia.
The collection of signatures started at the end of 2018, and the required number was collected only this year. The initiator of the initiative is Pāvels Melnis, who lives in the countryside, in an ecological environment. According to him, in order to protect the health of people living in rural areas, the use of pesticides near their homes should be banned.
“Many people choose to live in the countryside to provide themselves and their children with an ecologically clean environment. However, these properties are often small and border on large farm areas where synthetic pesticides are used. It is suspected that pesticides can cause malignancies, metabolic disorders and genetic disorders in children, ”says Melnis.
He proposes to supplement the Law on Protection Zones with a norm that prohibits the use of pesticides within a radius of one kilometer around the place where at least one person has a declared place of residence. Improvements should be made to the Rural Support Service’s Electronic Application System to allow farmers to see areas around declared residences where the use of synthetic pesticides is prohibited.
“Nobody wants to die so that someone else can earn! These are not comparable things, it simply cannot be that I or my children have to be sick or die in order for someone to earn money, ”Melnis emphasizes.
The initiative states that data from the Population Register could be used to obtain data. Farmers in areas where the spraying of synthetic pesticides would be banned could use biological plant protection measures, such as natural pesticides, as well as additional weed cultivation. Areas could be set up in the vicinity of the declared place of residence for the greening payment, where the use of pesticides would not be necessary. The Ministry of Agriculture is skeptical about the initiative.
“The common policy is moving fast on the green course, and we are already providing enough clear funding for the next programming period, and in our view it is large enough to implement this green course. In Europe, the Green Course has decided to halve pesticide use by 2030. Thus, we see this initiative as a hasty offer on the part of the population, ”says Jānis Eglīts, Head of the Office of the Minister of Agriculture.
The final word in this case will be the deputies of the Saeima, who will have to consider this initiative.