Herbicides or poisons?
Jason Alexandra, Australian Conservation Foundation, 340 Gore Street, Fitzroy, Victoria 3065, Australia.
The CSIRO has warned of several major concerns of Australian agriculture's dependence on pesticides (herbicides, insecticides etc.), "in 1988 some $850 million was spent on these compounds… Although cost effective, some chemicals give rise to major concerns:
• the potential hazard posed by residues to consumer health,
• the threat that residues hold for exports,
• and the damage caused to the environment.
"Also, the effectiveness of pesticides is threatened by increasing resistance in target species." (CSIRO Rural Report 1990).
Unions, consumers and rural communities have voiced similar concerns regarding chemical usage in Australian agriculture. The ACF believes it is critical that all parties involved make commitments to strong initiatives to reform chemical use in agriculture in order to protect our export markets, worker health and safety and the environment. A pro-active rather than a reactive approach is called for.
Plant Protection Quarterly (1996) 11 (3) 98-100.