Fashion designer Katharine Hamnett has criticised Hackney Council for not responding to a petition, signed by over 3000 people that would ban the use of pesticides in the borough.
Hamnett, along with activist group 38 Degrees, has spoken out against the use of the pesticide, Roundup, which contains a potentially harmful chemical called glyphosate.
The petition, which asks the council to stop the use of pesticides, was addressed to newly re-elected mayor Jules Pipe and delivered on Tuesday May 27. But despite having thousands of signatures supporting the cause, the council has yet to make comment.
The fashion designer who lives in Hackney herself has denounced the council’s lack of action. Hamnett told the Hackney Gazette: “It’s not a good look, three days back in office to assiduously ignore a weight of public opinion.”
The pesticide has allegedly been used in London Fields as well as other public areas in Hackney. The health issues associated with the chemical includes infertility, organ damage, skin irritation, and birth defects.
Hamnett warns that picnickers who sit on the grass at London Felds and eat with their hands are especially at risk with coming into contact with Roundup. She describes the chemical as “poison” and likened the use of glyphosate in the park to drinking the chemical straight from the bottle.
However, Hackney Council has defended the use of pesticides in the past, deeming them safe for human contact. Kim Wright, the corporate director for health and community services in Hackney has said: “It’s widely available to the public in garden centres and DIY stores and considered the most environmentally friendly weed killer available.”
Likewise, Monsanto, the company that manufactures Roundup has produced a study that found: “Under present and expected conditions of use, Roundup herbicide does not pose a health risk to humans.”
Hamnett and her many supporters remain unconvinced. Keith Tyrell, the former Executive Director of Friends of the Earth, spoke at a public meeting organized by the campaign against pesticides, and said,“the only thing that is going to change the world is if people at locally, and tell their local government they want change.”
The video of the public meeting is available here.