A decade after the groundbreaking Clean Air Law, Adam Teva V’Din is again addressing the nexus of environment and health. To reduce the exposure of vulnerable populations to chemicals in the everyday environments, we examined regulations and policies on pesticide use in agriculture and in public open spaces. We used a draft Reducing Pesticides legislative bill to spur the attention of the Health and Agriculture Ministries as the two dominant relevant government agencies.
“At first, it was unheard of for a public interest non-profit agency to challenge oversight practices,” says Sarit Caspi-Oron, scientist. “Ove rtime we have built an open dialog with both agencies; there is genuine support for the policy and regulatory changes we are seeking.”
Our draft legislative bill on pesticides management is sponsored in the parliamentary process by the chair of the Interior & Environment Committee. Tammy Ganot, policy director, says support for the bill is wide; the Health and Agriculture Ministries are in favor of it moving forward.
“Our bill calls for a National Action Plan to reduce pesticide use and a publicly accessible database of pesticides and their applications, etc.,” notes Tal Granot, attorney working regulatory amendments in the program. “There is provision in the bill for pesticide-free buffer zones in populated areas where children may be present, like schools and public parks.”
Many farmers favor stronger oversight of pesticide use out of concern for the quality of their produce, the ecosystem and of course, for their own kids who live near the fields where pesticides are used.
Our public outreach program has set up a Pesticides Watch volunteers who will use Adam Teva V’Din guidelines to spread the concept of reducing pesticides in residential neighborhoods. The goal is to reach a critical mass of public activism on reducing pesticides before the municipal elections at the end of the 2018.