Council Votes in IVM for Parks and Roads
(Beyond Pesticides, March 11, 2005) In February 2005 the Kauai, HI County Council passed a resolution to adopt an Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) Program for all county parks and roads. The resolution was passed after months of testimony by the public on the health hazards of the herbicides currently being sprayed by county workers.
During testimony, herbicides such as RoundUp were linked to serious eye and skin damage and linked to long-term problems such as miscarriages, birth defects, cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and neurological and developmental problems.
Also addressed was the asthma risk linked to herbicides by the University of Southern California's Children Health Study. According to the American Lung Association, an estimated 8,865 children and adults (15.5% of the population of Kauai) have asthma.
In response to these potential dangers of using herbicides, the County has asked the Public Works Department " to adopt a no-spray policy for a minimum of two county parks, that the Public Works Department give effective notice and warning for he parks and roadsides where it continues to spray, and that it develop and implement an Integrated Vegetation Management Program for all parks and roadsides."
The Council also recognized that "transition and learning are required before the goal of a full-fledged no-spray herbicide policy can be achieved."
At this time, members of Hawaii's Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (HCAP), Kauai's Network for the Chemically Injured (KNCI) and the Green Party, are offering recommendations to the Public Works Department on transitioning to an IVM plan that focuses on manual maintenance means including mowing and weed eating; using natural products or treatments to control weeds; paving under guardrails or using fabric or mulch to suppress weeds; planting beneficial groundcovers and other non-chemical tactics.
These groups would like to thank other environmental groups around the country for their assistance in convincing the County Council to pass this resolution, and ask for additional input in how to help the County of Kauai meet the goal of IVM.
For more information on weed management or how your community can adopt a least-toxic IVM policy, visit Beyond Pesticides' Invasive Weed Management webpage.