Council blows off steam control

Councillors rejected Cr Ben Hodson’s motion to retain thermal weed control at a meeting last week.

Ms MacLaren said it was well known that areas near waterways should stick to effective, chemical-free weed control methods that would not leach into the Swan River.

‘The Swan River is already struggling with its biodiversity, low oxygen levels and algae are an ongoing problem that the Government is failing to combat,’ she said. ‘I’m sure the City does not want to add more pollution to our vulnerable water networks.’

At the October 22 meeting, biomedical scientist Cr John Wetherall said health claims against glyphosate by the Pesticide Action Group was ‘seriously lacking credibility’.

‘Glyphosate has a low toxicity for humans and a 25-year record as being safe,’ he said. ‘I think we made an error of judgment 10 years ago (deciding to use steam).’

Cr Nikola Horley said she understood that many people were concerned about the health implications of changing to chemicals.

‘No matter how much money the City saves going to herbicides, that is worth a drop in the ocean compared to the potential risks we may be taking,’ Ms Horley said.

Cr Bill Hassell said the public opposition to herbicides was a ‘scare campaign not based on science but on pursuing a green agenda’.

‘If you want to judge the community’s true attitude to glyphosate, then go to Bunnings on the weekend and watch the bottles of Roundup disappear off the shelves,’ he said.

Mayor Max Hipkins said he received more emails about herbicide use than local government amalgamation.

‘There are many unknowns in relation to the use of herbicides,’ Mr Hipkins said.

‘I do not necessarily support steam control but there is growing research internationally (on herbicides) that is cause for concern.’

National Toxics Network Jane Bremmar said it was a bizarre decision for Nedlands to increase a risk that did not previously exist.

‘No one has ever been harmed by steam exposure but plenty have been harmed by herbicide exposure,’ Ms Bremmar said.