According to the Guardian, a draft of regulations reveals that the European Commission is ready and willing to ban insecticides that harm bees. If the proposals are approved, a total ban of the world’s most used pesticides could be in place this year in Europe. The proposals could be voted on as soon as May and, if approved, the world’s most widely used pesticides would be banned from all fields across Europe.
It’s time. In 2017, the rusty-patched bumblebee officially became the first bumblebee listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act, following many other species of bees. Knowing the importance of bee’s pollination role in agriculture and the alarming trend of bees disappearance, the step Europe is taking could raise awareness in other countries and hopefully set a standard.
Bees are vital for many crops. They transfer pollen from flower to flower in many plant species, resulting in the production of fruits and seeds. They are part of the natural balance that feed us. We need food, therefore we need bees. But they are disappearing due to loss of habitat, diseases and pesticides.
Studies show that the pesticides called neonicotinoids, widely used for over 20 years, are responsible for serious harm in bees. There is a strong scientific consensus that bees are exposed to neonicotinoid pesticides in fields and suffer serious harmful effects from the doses they receive.
The European commission has decided to move towards implementing a complete ban now, based on risk assessments of the pesticides by the European Food Safety Authority, published in 2016. These pesticides include imidacloprid and clothianidin, both made by Bayer.
Earlier in March, UN food and pollution experts issued a critical report on pesticides, arguing that it was a myth that they were needed to feed the world and calling for a new global convention to control their use.