Member countries in the European Union have voted to ban the use of insecticides that are contributing the loss of honeybees. The insecticides are also linked to the loss of other types of bee populations and colony collapse disorder.
Neonicotinoid pesticides have been restricted in the EU since 2013 after research showed that it had severe effects on the population of vital pollinators, such as honeybees. Three chemicals in the group were banned in 2013, however the new ban goes further and all outdoor chemicals are no longer permitted to be used.
The action was taken after a report from the European Food Safety Authority found that wherever they are used, even in in an indoor environment meant that many species of bee are still at threatened by the use of the chemicals.
One third of human food is reliant on pollinators such as bees, and the recognition that we need bees in order to survive is finally being noticed and stringent bans put in place. EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, said: “The Commission had proposed these measures months ago, on the basis of the scientific advice from the European Food Safety Authority.
“Bee health remains of paramount importance for me since it concerns biodiversity, food production and the environment.”
Antonia Staats from Avaaz, a “global web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision making everywhere”, commented on the news. Staats said: “Banning these toxic pesticides is a beacon of hope for bees.
“Finally our governments are listening to their citizens, the scientific evidence and farmers who know that bees can’t live with these chemicals and we can’t live without bees.”
Sandra Bell from Friends of the Earth said: “It’s a significant indication that we need a different form of farming across Europe that farms with nature and not against it. The ban on neonicotinoids could be a really important step towards a more general questioning of the use of pesticides and the harm they are doing to our environment.”
Despite this, farmers are not welcoming the news. Earlier in the month it was reported that poor management practices pose more of a threat to successful crop yield than pests.