To the City of Greater Geraldton
You need to STOP spraying our town with toxic weed killers. Permanently.
As a resident and ratepayer, it is my WILL that you cease spraying all streets of our town with herbicide.
You are poisoning us.
I won’t walk around town any more because I refuse to unwittingly breathe in another burning lungful of the poisonous fumes that rise from areas around our streets and footpaths that you constantly spray.
I previously had no choice but to walk my children to school and I became so sick and tired of being exposed to newly sprayed areas of footpaths, verges and grassed areas. I’ve had to detour so many times to get away from the fumes, sometimes there are no detour options, I have to hold my breath and try to run past the fumes hoping my young children aren’t breathing too deeply. I have mentioned to you before, in previous emails (which I have copied and pasted to the bottom of this email for easy reference) and by phone, that if you insist on poisoning the residents of Geraldton with this product, glyphosate, remembering that the World Health Organisation has deemed it to be a PROBABLE HUMAN CARCINOGEN, and it has also been directly linked to birth defects, nervous system damage, Alzheimers, Parkinson’s, various forms of cancer and kidney failure, then the least you can do is provide ample WARNING for those of us trying to keep our children safe and healthy.
I know other councils do.
With the World Health Organisation’s finding in mind, please take the time to read this information about Precautionary Principle. http://www.sehn.org/ppfaqs.html I believe you should apply Precautionary Principle to your weed control methods. Some countries have already banned glyphosate (eg. Sri Lanka), others start their bans soon (Netherlands) and still others are trying to get the product banned (eg. Brazil and Germany).
I was told on the phone, by a CGG worker, when I asked, that you spray twice a year. Well now. That isn’t quite true, is it. The spraying is never ending. You don’t even do a whole street at a time. Just sections, so there’s often fresh glyphosate sprayed just when I think it must be over.
You sprayed the verge and footpath outside a day care centre, the herbicide went through the wire fence and killed some grass along the inside of the fenceline. I could smell it, very strong, before I saw where you had done it. Most days when I walked past that day care centre there were small children, two and three years old, standing at that fence, holding on to it, looking out. I rang the centre to let them know and they had no idea you had sprayed inside their fence. You may not have intended to, but you did. Very careless and an example of why you should not be using poisons so widely. You have become negligent.
You spray around the bottom of trees and shrubs which are on the verges and in parks. Do you realise you are damaging them? Glyphosate may not kill them outright, but it weakens them over time and makes them sick. So they need to be removed and replaced, costing us more money.
You spray around every drain on the roads. You know what happens when it rains don’t you. You are responsible for herbicide washing into our oceans and groundwater.
You spray along kerbs and footpaths where there is grass. You kill the grass and what replaces it? WEEDS.
You spray verges that are obviously being maintained by residents. You started to spray MY VERGE on Wednesdaymorning, I had to go outside and ask your unprotected worker to please STOP! This is the SECOND TIME YOU HAVE SPRAYED MY VERGE SINCE I ASKED TO BE PUT ON A DO NOT SPRAY LIST!
You spray around individual bollards and power poles. You spray around individual pit lids. Very time consuming and labour intensive I would imagine. Perhaps a whipper snipper would do the job, other gardeners manage to protect their bollards without chemicals. (TAFE on Fitzgerald Street is an example, it IS possible.)
You spray all around the seats at bus stops. A sure way to ensure people come into direct contact with the poison. Very clever.
You say in your “You and Your Street Verge” booklet (link) that you can’t control the weeds mechanically. Personally, I think that is utter rubbish. You have chosen the EASIEST and LAZIEST option and make excuses to continue with it with no regard for the wellbeing of our community.
You also say that “where they become a problem, weeds along footpaths and kerbs are sprayed.” What, exactly, constitutes “problem” weeds? Because you spray everything. Grass, as well as verges with very few weeds. You spray great swathes of grass a metre or more wide at people’s fencelines. And then you mow it anyway. WHY? The verges you sprayed on Wednesday morning are very well MAINTAINED by the residents. YOU don’t care, you poisoned them anyway.
You spray, then you mow. You spray and then you mow again a few weeks later. When using your “poison buggy” you also have a car driving near it with a light on top flashing. No easily visible signs to say what is going on. From a distance it looks like you are mowing.
No warning for anyone down wind. No warning for anyone walking immediately after and while the fumes are still strong.
The men spraying may be happy to do it WITH NO PROTECTIVE GEAR ON, (that’s right none, ever! Steel cap boots aren’t going to stop them breathing it in or getting it on their skin), they may be happy to repeatedly expose themselves to the chemicals, BUT I’M NOT, not me and CERTAINLY NOT MY YOUNG CHILDREN.
If the people in this town weren’t so busy. If they had time to look around and see what I’ve seen over the last year, then they too would be shocked and horrified, just like I am.
Shocked that the City of Greater Geraldton shows no regard for the health and wellbeing of the residents of Geraldton and horrified that they are repeatedly drenching our suburban streets with chemicals, UNNECESSARILY.
I have walked for a long time. Decades. To school when I attended school, to work before I had children. I wanted to teach my children that you can walk. That it’s enjoyable and great to get fresh air and have time to think. I used to walk every day and I loved it.
Then, this past year, while slowly realising the extent of your “weed control” methods and becoming very concerned by them, I only walked to my children’s schools and straight home.
Now, and it has caused a great upheaval to my family’s routine, I no longer walk my children to school at all. I can’t. You have no idea how much you are damaging our town and the people in it. How much you are poisoning those residents who choose to walk, and run, in our town.
You are also incredible hypocrites, you have bylaws regarding smoking, to “protect” the health of residents, and yet you are doing far more harm to the WHOLE environment, including the residents, with the never ending drenching of our town with toxic chemicals.
I no longer take my children to the playgrounds and parks around town. I know what to look for now and I see evidence of your herbicide spraying everywhere. Absolutely EVERYWHERE.
What about the insects, bees and spiders which are vital to our ecosystem? They too are being poisoned. So are the birds that feast on bugs, the birds that eat the seeds you have sprayed. What do you think the long term effects of your spraying on these creatures is?
It’s time you stopped using herbicide to “control weeds”. It is a never ending, pointless, useless, toxic process.
In most areas that you use it, mowing a couple more times a year would suffice. No need for anything else.
The weather has warmed up and the weeds are dying, all on their own.
As they do throughout winter, regardless of the rain. The number of times you have sprayed them AFTER they’ve gone to seed is ridiculous. Truly, it would be funny if it wasn’t so utterly devastating. You do know most of them die right after they go to seed, don’t you? All by themselves. NO need for expensive toxic chemicals at that stage.
Also, perhaps not so important but definitely an issue, for the purposes of aesthetics, you must stop spraying. This town is covered with patches of dead plants. Death and poison is all I see when I travel through Geraldton. It is ugly as well as toxic. Walking between strips of dead, poisoned grass is awful.
Fremantle Council no longer uses toxic chemicals to “control weeds” in their residential areas. They use saturated steam and have been for years.
They also WARN their residents when they do use herbicides to spray in open parkland and reserves.
The City of Greater Geraldton needs to consider saturated steam as an alternative. Or just mow.
The City of Greater Geraldton needs to STOP drenching our residential streets with CARCINOGENIC CHEMICALS.
Just remember, to those at the City of Greater Geraldton who are responsible for soaking our town with poison, any damage to the health of any resident of this town due to them coming into contact with the herbicide, or from breathing the fumes of the herbicide, is on YOUR HEAD. Just because you will probably never hear about it doesn’t mean it hasn’t/won’t happen. The extent of the spraying that I have witnessed this year is horrifying. If you think that no children are walking through newly sprayed weeds and grass, picking up rocks and sticks covered in the stuff, then you are fooling yourselves.
I have also found an interesting document, “A guide to the management of pesticides in local government pest control programs in Western Australia” released by the Government of Western Australia’s Department of Health.
I understand these are optional guidelines, intended to assist local governments to develop responsible pesticide use policy.
Interestingly, the points I have made in my previous emails to you are all covered in the guidelines.
So what I have thought and written, and said in the phone call I made to you, is actually recommended procedure.
But you still choose to ignore it.
The guide also outlines an auditing process that should be undertaken to ensure that your current practises are effective.
Well, I could give you a report on that. I have taken photos and observed what you do over the last twelve months and I KNOW without a doubt that your procedures are completely ineffective in controlling weeds. In fact, they encourage more weeds to grow.
What you do is the repeated, widespread, and somewhat secretive (in that you do not make the extent that you spray herbicides in residential areas widely known) poisoning of the people of Geraldton under the guise of “weed control”.
No matter how you try to spin it, no matter what excuses you use, the City of Greater Geraldton is responsible for saturating our residential streets with noxious chemicals and it has to stop.
*My previous correspondence with the City of Greater Geraldton regarding this matter is below.
*I have also attached a series of photos which show real examples of the areas sprayed that I have written about in this email. They were predominantly taken at Beachlands and Mahomets Flats during August and September when everything should be lush and green. If you look around town you will find endless other examples, only now that everything is drying up the areas poisoned are harder to distinguish.
I have also included a left view and a right view from the middle of my verge which was half sprayed (including my driveway) on Wednesday, judge for yourselves how necessary an application of poison on my, and my neighbours’ well maintained verges was.
My email to CGG 8/10/2014
I would like some information about the small, red vehicle that I saw yesterday lunchtime on the footpath at the corner of Willcock Drive and Hadda Way.
It looked like it was spraying the sides of the footpath.
I would like to know if that is what it was doing, what it was spraying with, why it was spraying, how often you do it and why aren’t there more signs warning walkers and cyclists that there are poisons being sprayed [if that’s what it was doing].
COUNCIL REPLY (1) 8/10/2014
Our Ref: D-14-66801
File Ref RO/6/0017
Enquiries: Rhonda Parker
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT EMAIL – WR 54466 – SPRAYING AT MAHOMETS FLATS
Thank you for your email enquiry received8 October 2014. Your request has been assigned a work request number and is being investigated. A formal response will be provided in due course.
If you have any further queries regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to contact Rhonda Parker on (08) 9956 6683 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretarial Support Officer
COUNCIL REPLY (2) 14/10/2014
Your placed a works request query about a red car. Can you call me at your earliest convenience on the number below as I need to get more details
*My family and I were away for a couple of weeks after I sent the email dated 8/10/15. I saw the replies from the council when we returned and rang them to discuss the matter.
My email to CGG 7/4/2015 (I have removed my address from this email but it was included in the original.)
I have contacted the council in the past, email 8/10/14 and a phone call on about the 28/10/14, about glyphosate spraying in Geraldton.
My personal opinion is that glyphosate should not ever be sprayed in towns or any populated areas.
I don’t care how “safe” its manufacturer says it is, I believe it is a poison which is overused to an incredible degree.
During the phone call I had with a council worker regarding the spraying of glyphosate in Geraldton, they said that I could have my property verge removed from the area that is sprayed.
I would very much like to do this. I do not want my verge sprayed, with any herbicide or pesticide, or anything, by anyone, ever again.
My address is ...
I would also like the verge over the road from my residence to be removed from the area you spray, along with the rest of my street and all the footpaths in the vicinity of my house. I walk with my children a lot and I don’t believe they should be exposed to glyphosate at all.
Obviously, I would like the spraying in the whole of Geraldton stopped.
I understand the reasons for spraying. I remember very well what was said during the phone call I had on this subject with the council last year.
I was disappointed to see on Monday, 23rd March at about 8:20am, the glyphosate ute parked off Cathedral Ave, in an area where it was not actually visible to pedestrians walking towards town on the Cathedral Ave footpath, until they were nearly right next to it. The worker was plodding along, pulling the hose, he looked like he didn’t really have any protective gear on either, spraying.
I did not have the opportunity to go a different way. It was too late by the time I saw the ute, I had to walk, with my 5 year old and my 2 year old, right past the area being sprayed. I spoke on the phone last October about additional signage being placed on footpaths to give pedestrians enough time, and opportunity, to detour what they determine is a safe distance around the glyphosate ute.
I feel I should have that right.
No one else should be able to decide for me whether I, or two of my young children who were with me in the pram that day, should be exposed to that poison.
I was very angry.
Obviously, my suggestion that signs are placed on the paths has been ignored. Perhaps it is too much effort to assist in protecting the public from a poison the council chooses to spray everywhere.
I think that, along with the signage already mentioned, the council should maintain and regularly, accurately, update a page on its website that details where and when, exactly, glyphosate spraying will be (and has been) performed in the whole of Geraldton.
The information should remain on the page indefinitely, for future reference, and be placed on the page with as much notice as possible, the minimum notice being 24 hours.
As it is the school holidays, I would like to walk with my children quite a lot, visiting playgrounds in the area etc.
I would like to know when the council is next spraying, and has most recently sprayed, the dual use path from the African Reef resort, at the end of Willcock Drive/Broadhead Road, past the Back Beach Surf Club and Separation Point to the lighthouse at Point Moore. This will assist me in deciding whether to venture out or just stick to playing with the kids in the back yard.
I do not wish to discuss this subject with the council by phone. I have already done that and not only does it achieve nothing, there is no record of what was said.
I would prefer a written reply please.
COUNCIL REPLY 14/4/15
Dear Ms Rose
OUTCOME EMAIL- WR 57842 – VERGE SPRAYING – (address was here)
I refer to your email enquiry received 8 April 2015, regarding your request to not have Glyphosate sprayed on the verge of ...(address was here)
A City Officer has advised that spraying has commenced and the contactors have been advised not to spray glyphosate on the verge of ...(address was here)
If you have any further queries regarding this matter, please contact Denise Wrensted on 08 9956 6600 or email@example.com and quote the above work request number.
Personal Assistant to Director
*My children and I did not go to any parks/playgrounds during those school holidays. We played in our own backyard.
Note: No weeds are controlled during the implementation of the City of Greater Geraldton’s “weed control” regime.