Member States need to truly reduce their pesticide dependency and protect public health and the environment. In its public consultation survey, the European Commission lists several measures that are already contemplated by the EU law, as well as few legal options for future.
I) To the following questions part of EU public consulation survey :” How important are in your view the following issues for future EU policies on the sustainable use of pesticides?”, these are the measures we believe will be the most effective:
- Enforcement of the existing Directive, for example through more frequent audits by the Commission in Member States, and legal action in case of non-compliance,
- Introduction of economic measures (e.g. tax, price increase) to reflect the true cost of the pesticides’ negative impact in terms of externalities (e.g. on water quality, on human health and on biodiversity) on prices,
- Introduction and enforcement of measures to protect the aquatic environment and drinking water,
- Restrictions on the use of pesticides in certain public areas such as parks, nature reserves and others.
Measures such as: training and guidance for pesticides users, educating EU citizens about the risks and potential harmful effects of pesticides use or reliance on new technologies and innovation such as precision farming will not be able to fulfil the requirements of the SUD directive nor will they be able to encourage the transition towards a more ecological model of farming that the EU desperately needs.
II) To the following question: “In your view how effective would the following options be to reduce the use and risk of chemical pesticides in the EU”, these are the measures we believe will be the most effective:
- Introduction of economic incentives and stimuli for the application of integrated pest management by pesticide users and other alternative methods for pest management,
- Promotion and expansion of organic farming in the EU,
- Reinforcing Commission oversight of the implementation of Member States’ National Action Plans on the sustainable use of pesticides, including penalties for underperformance,
- Increasing the price of more hazardous chemical pesticides to discourage and reduce their use.
We consider of lesser relevance measures such as: the introduction of more detailed labelling or colour codes on pesticides packaging to inform users and purchasers of the hazards, setting stricter rules for the use, handling and disposal of pesticides including the recycling of empty containers or restricting private individuals’ access to more hazardous chemical pesticides.