KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – The province has issued permits for the spraying of glyphosate on some 938 hectares (2300 acres) in rural Nova Scotia.
Affected woodlots are in Hants, Cumberland, Guysborough, Inverness and Colchester Counties. The individual permits and a summary document are posted on the Department of Environment website. Both ground and aerial applications are included in the approvals.
During previous years similar glyphosate applications were controversial, with many residents of rural Nova Scotia worried about unwanted effects on their own health and the forests’ ecosystem.
These concerns were shrugged off by the department, and forestry companies which use the herbicide to facilitate clearcutting. Scientists are divided on whether the herbicide is safe and many of its long term effects on woodlands, soils and animals remain unknown.
Glyphosate was found to be “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015.
Defenders of glyphosate have focused on the supposedly negligible risks of the herbicide to humans. Nonetheless, mandatory signs in the areas to be sprayed are warning people not to eat berries. Do birds know to read these signs?
And did we tell the earthworms to vacate the premises prior to spraying? A report by the British Soil Association suggests that in terms of glyphosate’s impact on soil ecosystems we know very little.
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