City of Dover, NH: Please Expand Organic Pilot Program
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Starting in Spring 2015, the City of Dover, NH initiated a pilot program by beginning the process of managing two public spaces, lower Henry Law park and Sullivan Dr. ball field, organically. This is a tremendously positive first step. Along with hosting a municipal training session with Chip Osborne in Fall 2015, and eliminating the use of pollinator harming neonicotinoid class insecticides on school and city owned property, the City has made good progress in fulfilling the promises set out in the Sustainable Dover initiative. We wish to thank them for their efforts so far, and encourage the city to keep up the good work by expanding the program to include all city owned property, and eliminating toxic herbicide use for curbside vegetation control.
This is being done successfully elsewhere. Pesticide use effects all of us, and our children are especially vulnerable. Recently dozens of leading scientists and medical experts have created a call to action to reduce widespread exposures to chemicals that interfere with fetal and children’s brain development. They state that "the current system in the United States for evaluating scientific evidence and making health-based decisions about environmental chemicals is fundamentally broken." It is imperative that we continue to move ahead in eliminating as much of these types of exposures as we can.
Some of the products being used by the city contractors include...
Mec Amine-D 3-way herbicide - (2,4 – d, Mecoprop-P, & Dicamba) 2,4 - d is a component of Vietnam defoliant Agent Orange, and it is contaminated with dioxin during the manufacturing process. The three active ingredients have never been tested in combination, only alone and never as a whole formulated product with 'inert' proprietary ingredients that comprise more than half.
Dimension - crabgrass pre-emergent herbicide
Roundup Promax & Rodeo Herbicide - (glyphosate) Listed by the World Health Organization as a probable carcinogen, known to be genotoxic, which means it damages DNA in ways that can cause cancer, and shows endocrine disrupting activity at very low levels. Reward herbicide, active ingredient diquat dibromide. Residues of diquat have been found to persist in soil for many years with very little degradation.
It doesn't have to be this way.
As the home of the Children's Museum, the city of Dover receives many visitors. We have the opportunity to set an example for surrounding Seacoast communities by expanding the organic pilot programs to public areas still being conventionally treated, such as upper Henry Law park (pictured above), the public library, the McConnell Center, and many other spaces where children in particular frequent.
Not only is this program good for public and environmental health - but it also contributes to fiscal health by saving taxpayer money in the long term.
Going forward, we ask that the City of Dover commits to stop using toxic pesticides in public places, to encourage organic property maintenance for all new developments, and to provide education to businesses and residents about organic property maintenance and least toxic alternatives for weed control.
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