Fears over weedkiller


Alex Jones from Save Our Trees and the Pesticide Action Group of WA, Elisabeth Meehan and local resident Emily Wallis.
Picture: Andrew Ritchie           d448548
Alex Jones from Save Our Trees and the Pesticide Action Group of WA, Elisabeth Meehan and local resident Emily Wallis. Picture: Andrew Ritchie         d448548

A motion was passed on December 8 to stop the use of the controversial chemical on natural areas until councillors had formally considered the matter.

Wembley Downs resident Elisabeth Meehan told the Stirling Times she saw a large truck spraying an area along Weaponess Road on January 6.

City of Stirling infrastructure director Michael Littleton confirmed the truck was spraying glyphosate and that the work was being carried out by contractor Turfmaster.

Mrs Meehan said the truck was spraying an area of the kerb with no weeds and dead weeds, a practice she said she had seen “year after year”.

“The whole business model relies on weeds coming back every year so they spray after the weeds have gone to seed; the tiny amount of weeds that were there would have died naturally anyway because they are annual plants,” Mrs Meehan said.

“It’s an absolute waste of public money and a waste of time and effort.”

Mr Littleton said the City budgeted about $1.24 million on weed and pest control using pesticides annually. He said Turfmaster had been on the City’s tender panel listing since 1998.

Mrs Meehan, a former general practitioner, said she had concerns about the health impact of glyphosate on humans and the environment.

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organisation (WHO), glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans”.

Mr Littleton said the City was trialling steam control of weeds at selected sites but glyphosate was approved by federal and state regulators.

“We consider the full range of risks, which include studies of cancer risks, and how human exposure can be minimised through instructions for use and safety directions,” he said.

Mr Littleton said residents could be placed on a ‘no-spray register.’