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Westchester County Aims To Reduce Pesticide Use On Private Lawns
(Beyond Pesticides, October 27, 2004)
Westchester County in New York has teamed up with a local environmental group, Grassroots Environmental Education, to dramatically reduce local pesticide use on private property by offering safe alternatives to homeowners, landscapers and businesses. The groundbreaking initiative is designed to reshape the market forces of supply and demand that fuel the addiction to lawn pesticides.

County Executive Andrew Spano today announced the new initiative – The Grassroots Healthy Lawn Program – that will help protect the health of Westchester County residents by reducing their exposure to aesthetic pesticides, particularly those used on lawns. The program is being conducted by Grassroots Environmental Education, a non-profit educational organization, and is being funded entirely from private sources.

“Pesticides can affect our health and contaminate our water supply – it’s as simple as that,” said Spano, who has spearheaded the County’s efforts to educate citizens about the risks of pesticide exposure and the need for water quality protection. “The goals of the Grassroots Healthy Lawn Program is to reduce the use of pesticides by offering healthier alternatives for keeping lawns green. The fact that we can do all this at no cost to the taxpayer makes this an ideal program, and one I’m proud to support.”

Westchester County, just north of New York City, is among the more progressive counties in New York State on the issue of pesticides. The County committed in 1996 to phase-out the use of pesticides on County property, and in 2001, the Board of Legislators adopted the Neighborhood Notification Law requiring commercial applicators to inform abutting neighbors in writing 48 hours in advance of an application. Despite these efforts, pesticide use on residential and institutional properties in the County continues to grow.

The Grassroots Healthy Lawn Program will employ a unique multi-lateral approach that includes working with local landscapers to establish and sustain a non-toxic alternative lawn care program that they can offer to their customers, encouraging local merchants, from Home Depot to local garden stores, to carry and promote a full line of non-toxic lawn and garden products, and educating the public about the inherent dangers of pesticides and the safe alternatives now available to them.

TAKE ACTION: To learn more about the Grassroots Healthy Lawn Program, visit the project website at www.GHLP.org. For more information about lawn care initiatives and pesticides, see Beyond Pesticides Lawns and Landscapes issue pages. For additional information on Westchester’s other environmental efforts, visit Westchester's Pesticide Use Reduction page.