Weed killer ban on the chopping block

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FRANKSTON Council is set to consider overturning its ban on glyphosate-based weed killers.

Council announced an internal ban on the use of glyphosate products, such as Roundup, in late 2019. It phased out use of the product throughout 2020. 

The Times understands that councillors will consider overturning the herbicide ban at their next public meeting.

When asked if council is considering scrapping the ban and the costs involved, the mayor Kris Bolam said that “council will consider a detailed report in relation to this matter at the council meeting on Monday 15 February.”

It is understood that council officers have recommended that glyphosate be reintroduced because other weed control methods have been nearly $500,000 more expensive and not as effective. 

The previous Frankston Council, of which only one councillor remains, unanimously decided to stop using glyphosate in October 2019. A multi-billion dollar lawsuit in the US and the health and safety of the public were cited as reasons for the ban (“Herbicide use banned”, The Times, 28/10/19). 

Council ceased using glyphosate for weed control at playgrounds, preschools, and maternal child health centres on 1 January, 2020. The use of the herbicide was phased out entirely by council in June, with techniques including steam application, weeding, brush cutting, and mulching used instead.

Last week pharmaceutical company Bayer AG announced a $US2 billion proposal to resolve future legal claims in the United States over the use of the glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup. It is alleged that the weed killer may have links to cancer cases. 

In June 2020, Bayer announced it would settle nearly $US10 billion in current lawsuits related to the use of Roundup. 

Kingston Council also announced it would phase out the use of glyphosate in 2019.

First published in the Frankston Times – 9 February 2021

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