Wednesday, 19 September 2018

WHITIANGA WEATHER

TCDC to continue using Roundup

On Friday 10 August, an American jury awarded Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old Californian man, USD289 million in a court case against global agrochemical company, Monsanto.

Johnson worked for years as a school groundskeeper and used Roundup, a broad spectrum herbicide that is manufactured by Monsanto, frequently over a long period of time.

In 2014, after leading a healthy and active lifestyle, Johnson was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Johnson made the decision to initiate legal proceedings against Monsanto, alleging that Roundup was the cause of his cancer and that Monsanto withheld information pertaining to the possible risks of the chemical product from consumers.

During the trial, scientific evidence was presented suggesting that glyphosate (the main ingredient in Roundup) is linked to causing cancer. Email evidence implicating Monsanto of ignoring expert warnings regarding the danger of their product was also presented. The jury decided that Monsanto was responsible for “negligent failure."

Monsanto is refusing to accept the ruling and said they would appeal.

The ruling has significance for Coromandel Peninsula residents and visitors as well, as Thames-Coromandel District Council staff and contractors use Roundup to control vegetation along roadsides, fences, buildings, pathways, and other outside areas.

TCDC confirmed to The Informer that they use herbicides to target plants that Waikato Regional Council has identified as “pest plants” or “nuisance pest plants” in their Regional Pest Management Strategy. According to TCDC, glyphosate is approved and regulated for use in New Zealand by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Any property owner or occupier on the Coromandel who wishes for TCDC or their contractors not to use herbicides outside their property, can ask to be put on their “no-spray register." People on the no-spray register need to maintain the vegetation on the berm outside their property themselves, up to and including the kerb for the width of their property's road frontage. That includes the eradication of invasive weeds.

If the vegetation on the berm isn't controlled by the property owner or occupier and causes problems, TCDC may arrange for the work they deem necessary to be carried out without further notice. This may involve the spraying of herbicides.

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