Park Goes Pesticide-Free
(Beyond Pesticides, February 10, 2006) On February 6, 2006, the Plainville, Connecticut Town Council voted unanimously (7-0) that all 37 acres of Paderewski Park will be pesticide and chemical fertilizer-free. The first in town history, an organic turf program will be implemented on the ball fields at Paderewski Park. The town of Plainville is among the states leaders in promoting alternatives to pesticide applications. “The end goal was to have town properties become pesticide-free, so to have Paderewski Park proclaimed as that is huge,” said Conservation Commission member Jason Rupaka.
The Paderewski Park Resolution cites the precautionary principle as the basis for its decision to go pesticide-free. The precautionary principle is the idea that if the consequences of an action are unknown, but are judged to have some potential for major or irreversible negative consequences, then it is better to avoid that action. The resolution also cites the impacts of pesticide and fertizer run-off as reasons to ban lawn chemical use.
According to the New Britain Herald, the project will serve as a pilot program for the organic turf program, to see how it works and how it can be implemented on other properties. Council Member Kirby Deegan, who brought the resolution before the town council, said Paderewski Park was a good place to start the project because it's more of a family park with a pond for fishing, a playground and ballfields. “Eliminating pesticides is definitely good for the environment and good for residents," Mr. Deegan told the New Britain Herald. We all have environmental concerns in some way or another. The more I'm hearing about, the more involved I'm getting."
This is not the first example of Plainville residents taking a stand on unnecessary pesticide use in their community. In July of 2005 the Plainville Town Council adopted a resolution in support of a voluntary non-use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers on lawn and gardens by the citizens of Plainville. Since then 46 homeowners have joined the Freedom Lawn Initiative committing over 15 private acres as pesticide-free zones.
According to the New Britain Herald, the initiative, led by Mr. Rupaka, is based on evidence from sources, including the Center for Disease Control, that lawn-care pesticide use is linked to an increased risk of certain cancers and birth defects in humans and deformities or death in animals.
In 2003, Wichita, KS went pesticide-free in 10 of the city's 105 parks. It was following the lead of Lawrence, KS, where three parks, totaling 12 acres, were designated as pesticide-free the previous spring. Seattle, WA designated six parks as pesticide-free in 2001.