NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk has banned pesticides on public properties, with certain exceptions, as of Jan. 1.
“We hope that the practices adopted by the city … will inspire our residents to stop the use of pesticides on their own private properties and to maintain their lawns and gardens more sustainable ways that minimize the harm to creatures that live in our yards and our beloved Sound,” Ordinance Committee Chairwoman Lisa Shanahan (D-District E) said Tuesday, before the Common Council voted unanimously to approve a new ordinance titled, “Healthy Outdoor Public Spaces.”
The ordinance formalizes and makes permanent a policy already being implemented by the Department of Public Works, Shanahan said in March when the Committee began work on it, partially to raise public awareness.
Shanahan on Tuesday encouraged residents to watch that March meeting, where Drew Toher of Beyond Pesticides , Sarah Evans of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Dick Harris of Harbor Watch presented information on pesticides.
Studies show “we all have greater than 200 chemicals in our bodies, over 40 of those are pesticides,” Evans said.
The ban “follows years of advocacy by local groups such as Pesticide Free Rowayton,” a news release from Friends of Animals said.
“Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, all 30 are toxic to fish and aquatic organisms, 26 are deadly to bees, 22 are toxic to birds, and 14 kill bees,” it states. “…A wide range of effective organic solutions and practices to control pests such as ticks and mosquitoes or plants like poison ivy may be found at beyondpesticides.org.”
“Safer, organic alternatives may take more effort initially, or may be a little more expensive, but these considerations will be outweighed by knowing the city will no longer be posing a health risk to people, pets or pollinators or all the wildlife uniquely vulnerable to pesticide exposure,” said Priscilla Feral, president of the Darien-based Friends of Animals, in the release.
Efforts continue to enact a statewide ban on toxic pesticides, it said.
Feral said, “It’s high time that we connected people and conscientious lawmakers—linking municipal pesticide bans to the interests of animal advocates, gardeners and conservationists, so that the hazards and risks of using pesticides both informs residents and changes public policies and practices.”