(Beyond Pesticides, October 31, 2008) Pittsgrove, New Jersey Township adopted a pesticide-free park resolution at its October 28th meeting. As a result, Deer Pen Park, which includes picnic areas and a playground, will be managed using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and without harmful pesticides.
“We are excited about this because we are the first in the county to take part,” said Mayor Peter Voros. “We hope that others follow because this is a great project.”
Two township volunteers proposed the policy last summer, presenting information on pesticides an alternatives at a committee meeting. They and a local environmental group collaborated to create the adopted resolution. “Pittsgrove now has a written Integrated Pest Management policy which means that least-toxic methods are used, only when needed,” said Committeewoman Linda DuBois. The IPM policy targets toxic pesticides for elimination, as many have been linked to health risks like asthma, learning disabilities, and birth defects. “We especially want to protect children because they are closer to pesticide applications on the ground and they are still developing and absorb more pesticides than adults,” said Jane Nogaki, program coordinator for the New Jersey Environmental Federation. (for more information on children and pesticides, see Beyond Pesticides’ fact sheet, “Children and Chemicals Don’t Mix.”) Committeeman Jeff Ridgway added that the policy also “protects ground water and the aquatic life in the stream that runs through the park.”
Pittsgrove is the latest municipality in New Jersey to convert public park areas to pesticide-free management. Earlier this year, Vorhees adopted indoor IPM and pesticide-free parks and a year ago, Fairlawn created a similar policy. In all, 21 communities in New Jersey have adopted pesticide-free park policies, as have towns in other states. For some examples of successfully adopted policies, click here.
Community activism is the best way to get your town to adopt a pesticide-free policy. You can maintain your lawn and garden organically (see our Lawns and Landscapes page for tips), and let your neighbors know by displaying a Pesticide Free Zone sign. For assistance in proposing a policy to your city council (or its equivalent), contact Beyond Pesticides at firstname.lastname@example.org.