A petition has been launched by a local resident to stop the use of a dangerous herbicide in Sheffield green spaces.
Phil Jackson, committee member of Sheffield Green Space Forum petitioned to ban the use glyphosphate in light of evidence of its damaging impact on humans and the environment.
Mr Jackson said: “It’s nasty, it’s horrible it does nothing to help the wildlife, it does nothing to solve climate change because it ruins biodiversity.”
Independent studies have shown the disruption the chemical, better known as Roundup, can cause to the Endocrine system, responsible for controlling hormones in the body. The World Health organisation has also denounced the chemical as possibly carcinogenic.
The petition comes as American producer of Roundup, Bayer, was lumped with a $87 million dollar payout for a number of rulings that found a causal link between Bayer’s glyphosate-based weed killer and cancer.
This ruling has prompted action from local government in the UK. According to Pesticides Action Network, at least 40 UK local authorities have banned its use altogether or in part.
Countries such as Belgium, Austria and Denmark plan to ban or phase out the use of glyphosate, yet the relatively cheap solution the chemical provides for the problem of weeds makes it an appealing option for councils.
Lisa Firth, head of Sheffield Parks and Countryside has said that they are following the guidelines that currently exist and are waiting for further consideration from the government of its use.
Mr Jackson said: “The council is still adamant that using this weed killer is safe, and I’m afraid there is too much evidence and too many councils that have banned it for it to hold water.”
Mr Jackson also expressed concern for the way in which the glyphosate-based weed-killer is used after witnessing contractors spray the chemical without the appropriate protective gear.
He said: “The recommendations are that you don’t inhale this stuff and you should wear the correct protective clothing.
“It’s putting people at risk. Not just the public but the people using the stuff who probably don’t understand the severity of chemicals that are in there.”
“I will be pushing for us to collectively to call for a ban on it.”
A link to the petition is accessible here.