Pesticide ban in effect April 1

Nova Scotia’s ban on the sale and use of non-essential pesticides will come into effect April 1. Nova Scotia Environment defines non-essential pesticides as those used strictly for aesthetic and cosmetic purposes. Burns says there are many other safe alternatives on the market.

By: Rahim Demolitor

Nova Scotia homeowners will have to change the way they care for their lawns (Rahim Demolitor photo)

Nova Scotia’s ban on the sale and use of non-essential pesticides will come into effect April 1.

“The purpose of the legislation is to focus the public’s attention on growing healthy lawns and ornamental plants without the use of pesticides,” says Donald Burns, head environmental analyst for the Department of Environment and Labour.

Nova Scotia Environment defines non-essential pesticides as those used strictly for aesthetic and cosmetic purposes. Burns says there are many other safe alternatives on the market.

“We want to educate Nova Scotians on how to build and maintain an attractive lawn by not relying on chemical pesticides … there are safe and healthy products available to achieve the same results,” says Burns.

The ban applies to residential, government, commercial, and institutional properties, such as schools and baseball fields. However, exempt from the ban are agriculture industries (farmers), golf courses, and the department of forestry.

“Nova Scotia Environment recognizes that there are some circumstances that may require the use of a pesticide that is not on the allowable list,” says Burns. “These circumstances include the control of insects, plants and fungi that may be a health concern, plants poisonous to the touch, an invasive species, or (one that) can cause structural damage to a building.”

Burns says the new legislation will not only produce a cleaner environment for Nova Scotians, but limiting the use of pesticides will also enable property owners to maintain a healthier lawn in the long run.

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“In fact, preventing lawn problems is usually much easier than trying to treat them after they start. Proper mowing, watering, fertilizing and other maintenance practices will help prevent pest infestations,” says Burns.

Accepted pesticides will only be available at retailers certified by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment. To be eligible for the sale of products not on the list retailers must apply for a Class 1 Vendor Certificate. This requires taking a three hour exam consisting of 100 multiple choice questions.

“Health Canada states that it is good practice to reduce or eliminate any unnecessary exposure to pesticides and we want to be sure those carrying them will do so in a responsible manner,” says Burns.

Next year, the pesticide ban will expand to ornamental shrubs, flowers and trees.