Save the bees: EU plans blanket ban on destructive pesticides

Light therapy saves bees from pesticide poisoningEurekAlert

The European Commission (EC) is reportedly mulling over new legislation that would ban a majority of insecticides used in fields across the continent.

Draft legislation is being considered by the powerful body to protect the world's declining bee population.

The phenomenon is known as colony collapse disorder, with most scientists in agreement that it is caused by the effects of plant-protecting chemicals, in addition to habitat loss and natural diseases.

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The most damaging pesticides in question are called neonicotinoids and according to leaked drafts of the plans, acquired by the Guardian, the EC is considering a blanket ban.

The legislation could be debated as soon as May and brought into force soon afterwards, the newspaper reports.

Environmental campaigners have reacted positively to the development, following months of relentless activism.

"The amount of scientific evidence on the toxicity of these insecticides is so high that there is no way these chemicals should remain on the market," Martin Dermine, at Pesticide Action Network Europe, told the Guardian.

"PAN Europe will fight with its partners to obtain support for the proposal from a majority of member states."

Paul de Zylva, at Friends of the Earth, said: "The science is catching up with the pesticide industry – the EU and UK government must call time on neonics.

"Going neonic-free puts farmers more in control of their land instead of having to defer to advice from pesticide companies."

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However, Sarah Mukherjee, chief executive of the Crop Protection Association, hit out at the proposals.

"We are disappointed with this [EC] proposal, which seems more of a political judgement than sound science," she said.

Dave Goulson, professor of biology at the University of Sussex and founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, told IBTimes UK the issue between pesticide groups and campaigners was a "controversial" one because of the vast sums of money at play.

"The controversial one is pesticides," he said. "This is where people get really heated. There's a lot of money at stake. Farmers use a lot of pesticides these days and many would argue they need all those pesticides to grow as much food as they do.

"The companies that sell them make a huge amount of money and have a huge interest in denying that their chemicals are harming bees. But there is lot of scientific evidence that a lot of pesticides in use are harming bees one way or another."

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