Plymouth, UK - Pollenize, a local environmental organisation, has launched its Pesticide Free Plymouth campaign, aimed at reducing the use of pesticides in the city to protect pollinators and promote biodiversity.
The organisation is calling on local government officials to implement policies that promote pesticide-free practices and support the creation of pollinator-friendly habitats in public spaces. Residents of Plymouth are invited to join the campaign by signing a petition which urges Plymouth City Council to join over 40 other councils that have gone pesticide-free.
Pesticides are chemicals designed to control plant and animal “pests” and “weeds”. However, they also cause damage to the environment, our wildlife and to us. Pesticides have been linked to declining populations of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, which are essential for the health of the ecosystem and food production.
Pesticide Free Plymouth, which officially launched on May 11, 2023, aims to educate residents and businesses on the negative impact of urban pesticide use by promoting alternative methods for pest control such as companion planting and the encouragement of natural predators to manage pests.
"We believe that every resident of Plymouth has a role to play in protecting our environment, and the Pesticide Free Plymouth campaign is a critical step in achieving that goal," said Owen Finnie, Co-Founder of Pollenize. "We hope that this campaign will inspire residents to take action to protect pollinators and provide a benchmark for a wider strategy on how the city goes pesticide free."
As part of the campaign, Pollenize is partnering with key stakeholders such as Pesticide
Action Network, Buglife and Butterfly Conservation as well as local community group Stoke in Bloom to promote environmentally friendly gardening practices and providing educational resources on the importance of pollinators and wildflowers.
Dan Hoare, Director of Conservation at Butterfly Conservation says: “Our evidence shows that sadly 80% of butterflies in the UK have declined since 1970’s. But it is possible to change this. We can all do our bit to help nature in our own areas by choosing pollinator-friendly gardening practices. Avoiding the use of pesticides is key to welcoming pollinators to your garden as well as choosing pollinator-friendly plants and putting aside an area of your garden to grow wild in order to shelter butterflies and moths at all stages of their life cycle. We firmly support the Pollenize campaign and urge residents of Plymouth to keep their garden free from pesticides this summer.”
Andrew Whitehouse from Buglife said “In recent years, we have worked with others to provide more spaces for wildlife across Plymouth – for example by creating new wildflower grasslands in our parks and public spaces. However, making space for nature is not enough to reverse the decline in pollinators and other insects if those spaces are poisoned by chemicals. Many cities around the world have gone pesticide and herbicide free – wouldn’t it be great if Plymouth could join them?”
To learn more about the Pesticide Free Plymouth campaign, visit Pollenize's website at www.pollenize.org.uk/pesticidefreeplymouth