The Maui County Council passed law last week banning the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers on the county’s property. These include state parks, sidewalks, and golf courses.
Under Bill 72, Agricultural land on the county’s land is not included in order for farmers to continue their business method. Only pesticides and fertilizers approved under the USDA National Organic Program may be used.
Various county departments have worked with Beyond Pesticides, a nonprofit, to learn how to manage their land without the use of pesticides – such as frequent weeding.
Autumn Ness is the director of the Hawaii Organic Land Management Program for Beyond Pesticides. She has been working on Bill 72 for over six years.
“There are two problems. One is the environment and one is human health,” said Ness. “We are on an island where everything that happens on land affects the ocean and where petroleum-based fertilizers are really bad for our reefs and the quality of the water near the coast. If only we got rid of pesticides to protect our children, “that’s a half-baked solution.”
According to a 2012 article by Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children with low levels but chronic exposure to pesticides can be adversely affected by their toxicity.
Ness hopes this new law will encourage state and federal governments to do the same for their large lots.