I've kept to the roads and not the back lanes.  This clump is a trip hazard.

I’ve kept to the roads and not the back lanes. Weeds like this are a common sight at the moment.   This particular clump is a trip hazard.

These are in Marrickville Road shopping strip Marrickville.

These weeds are in Marrickville Road shopping strip in Marrickville.

Gutters are full of weeds in some places.

Gutters are full of weeds in some places.  We should get some goats in.

I think most of us in the community are unaware of the much of the work Marrickville Council does, myself included, until they stop doing it.  I don’t know how it is in the other suburbs across Marrickville municipality, but Marrickville is weedy. I’ve never seen it like this before. Council must be trying to save money.

These weeds demonstrate the triumph of nature over hard surfaces & give a look at how it will be if we all just up & left this city. Weeds are growing happily in cracks on the roads, gutter, footpaths, beside poles, & along fence & building lines.

Marrickville Council sprays weeds with Glyphosate herbicide (Roundup), except outside childcare centres & along shopping strips. In these locations they use steam.

There is a global controversy regarding Glyphosate, which is the most heavily used pesticide on Earth. Monsanto, the multi-national company which developed Roundup herbicide in 1974 says it is safe for the environment.

However, in March 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organisation classified Glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

Monsanto responded saying this was “junk science.” Monsanto have a lot to lose – around $16-billion annual sales.  See – http://1.usa.gov/24CE5Ah

In response to the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s classification of Glyphosate, both Sri Lanka & Bermuda banned imports of Glyphosate products & Colombia stopped using the herbicide in their coca eradication program. The cities of Chicago and Paris have made their public spaces Glyphosate-free.

The City of Vancouver “has banned the private use of herbicides including glyphosate. The city doesn’t use it either. There is one exception, however. Glyphosate is used on Japanese knotweed — an invasive species — in parks by injecting it into the stem under tightly controlled conditions, said the city.”  See – http://bit.ly/1ORXsd4

The Netherlands banned all glyphosate-based herbicides, including Roundup, from the end of 2015.  Germany’s state consumer protection ministers called for an EU-wide ban on Glyphosate stating, “the supply to and use by private persons to be banned for precautionary reasons,” & “that Glyphosate should be prohibited for uses close to consumers.” See – http://bit.ly/1Qt1yO7

The Pesticide Action Network UK has released a pdf document that lists all the countries around the world that have banned, restricted sales, stopped selling or calling for a ban of the herbicide Glyphosate. The list is encouragingly long.  You can download it here – http://bit.ly/1Qt3ZwF

Glyphosate is thought to be the cause of the worldwide decline of bees. If the bees go, humans will have to do all that pollinating themselves. It will be a disaster of mammoth & shocking proportions & likely lead to famine. Monarch butterfly populations in the USA are also in decline because the herbicide eradicates milkweed, which is their food.

Apparently patches of soil that are repeatedly sprayed (think almost every tree in Marrickville Golf Course for example) take 5-years to recover.

We all come in contact with Glyphosate every time we walk in public spaces, including parks.  Sit under a tree & you will undoubtedly be sitting where Glyphosate has been sprayed.  Walk the footpath, sit on a park bench or lean against a pole, anywhere where infrastructure meets the ground is good chance Glyphosate has been sprayed here.

It takes 2-weeks for the sprayed weeds to turn brown & a bunch of brown dead weeds is a very good indicator that they have been sprayed with Glyphosate.

Marrickville Council includes a blue dye in the Glyphosate when they spray to alert citizens that pesticides have been sprayed.  I remember coming across a very pretty blue feather sitting in a garden edge in Tempe Reserve before I knew of this.  My husband alerted me that this was an Ibis feather doused in Glyphosate. Well I dropped that feather as fast as I could. What chance do children have when they see a pretty blue feather?

I confess to cherry-picking information about Glyphosate because the web is full of articles contradicting each other. Monsanto swears that it is safe, but all kinds of other organisations think Glyphosate is disastrous to the environment.

A report called, Technical Announcement:
Widely Used Herbicide Commonly Found in Rain and Streams in the Mississippi River Basin’ found that Glyphosate, “is commonly found in rain and rivers in agricultural areas in the Mississippi River watershed, according to two new USGS studies released this month. [2011] In these studies, Glyphosate was frequently detected in surface waters, rain and air in areas where it is heavily used in the basin. The consistent occurrence of glyphosate in streams and air indicates its transport from its point of use into the broader environment.” See – http://on.doi.gov/1VRFBsd

I recommend reading the blog post of Jerry Coleby-Williams from ABC TV’s Gardening Australia on Glyphosate for a respected Australian’s viewpoint.  See – http://bit.ly/1L6fpK6

While I appreciate Glyphosate has been a godsend to those clearing bush of invasive weeds, I personally wish it were not used in urban environments where possible.

I like to lessen my impact on the environment as much as I can. Our property has been pesticide-free since we moved here in 1996 & the wildlife that has moved in is something that brings us enjoyment.  During the summer months our garden is alive with the sound of frogs & crickets singing at dusk.  It’s a lovely sound & far better than the sound of passing traffic.

Frogs hibernate under the lawn during the cooler months. We have lots of honey-bees & at least three kinds of native bees, including Blue Banded bees.   We also live with native paper wasps with no problems.

Sometimes I wonder how so many spiders can live in such a small garden, but they do & all we have to do is be considerate of their webs. Right now we have a Golden Orb spider building a massive 1-metre web across our garden every night. She has worked out where we walk & built her web above these areas.

I like all the insects, frogs & birds living here. I also like that we can be a small part of doing something nice for the environment & the creatures that live here by keeping the inside & outside of our property pesticide-free.

All residents of Marrickville municipality can opt out of Glyphosate spraying by Marrickville Council by asking to be included on the ‘No Spray’ Register.

Once you have registered, Council will come & spray red triangles on the footpath at the edges of your property to alert the Council workers not to spray pesticides outside your property. From then on you will be responsible for removing the weeds & it is important to do it because some weeds in the footpath like clumps of grass can be a significant trip hazard.

We are on the register & found that it is quite easy to keep on top of weeds simply by pulling them out as we see them.  I have worked for no more than 10-minutes in one weed pulling session & only this long because I allowed the weeds to get out of hand.

To request that your property be placed on the ‘No Spray’ Register you can call Marrickville Council on – 9335 2222 or send them an email at –council@marrickville.nsw.gov.au   Once you see those red triangles, you will know that the weed control is your responsibility.   Hopefully, we can see whole streets Glyphosate-free & perhaps one day, the whole municipality.

Glyphosate spraying all along the edge of the Cooks River in the Marrickville Golf Course.

Glyphosate spraying all along the edge of the Cooks River in the Marrickville Golf Course.   I can’t help but think of the herbicide spray entering the river.

The ground around a veteran Fig tree sprayed with Glyphosate.  Every tree in the golf course has been sprayed around the trunk to kill off grass.  Why not remove the grass and add mulch?  You can also see Glyphosate use in the background.

The ground around a veteran Fig tree sprayed with Glyphosate. Every tree in the golf course has been sprayed around the trunk to kill off grass. Why not remove the grass and add mulch?  You can also see Glyphosate use in the background.

Another example in the Marrickville Golf Course.  This includes a park bench not shown in the photo.

Another example in the Marrickville Golf Course. This includes a park bench not shown in the photo.

Red triangle painted on the footpath of those who opt in to Marrickville Council's No Spray Register.

Red triangle painted on the footpath of those who opt in to Marrickville Council’s No Spray Register.  You can see that this triangle has been renewed.  

Advertisements