Petition to stop chemical weed killer in Lewisham nearing 1000 signatures

A sign in Mayow park, one of the many places Roundup has been sprayed. Pic: Django Zimmatore

A petition to Lewisham Council to stop the use of the dangerous chemical weed killer Roundup in local parks has got over 700 signatures since it was set up on April 15.

Iris Borgers, 55, saw a man spraying weeds in Mayow Park in Sydenham with Roundup which prompted her to appeal to the council with a petition.

Borgers told Eastlondonlines: “There is a lot written about glyphosate and recently there was news that a US jury has found that chemical giant Monsanto knew its Roundup weedkillers were dangerous.”

This case led to a Californian man being awarded $298 million last summer after it was found that Monsanto knew Roundup, which caused his terminal cancer, was dangerous.

Holland, Denmark, Sweden and France are just some of the many European countries that have banned or restricted the use of herbicides containing glyphosate by their local councils. This is because of alleged links that glyphosate has with a variety of health problems. These range from birth defects and kidney failure to celiac disease, colitis and autism.

There have also been many links between glyphosate usage and declining insect population, which should be another concern for Lewisham residents. Argentinian studies suggest that glyphosate use leads to a decline in honeybee activity and the demise of the monarch butterfly population in New York has also been pinned on glyphosate as well.

Borgers said: “We were told that there has been spraying done in all the parks’ green spaces and on our roads in Lewisham, we don’t know how many this is, but twice a year in Mayow Park and when we asked where this was taken place we were told it was on the paths and around the playground.”

“All sounded a complete horror.”

“There is an alternative to Roundup which Southwark Council uses and Lewisham Head of Green Scene has been looking into, but we don’t know what the alternative ways will be,” she added.

Mayow Park on a sunny day. Pic: Django Zimmatore

The petition is gaining a large number of signatures but there was no action seen from Lewisham Council just yet. However, Hammersmith, Fulham and Croydon only needed 500 signatures on similar petitions to stop them from spraying glyphosate in public spaces in their respective boroughs.

Borgers said: “It’s good that we have many signatures and the issue is raised but Croydon stopped after 500 signatures! We have over 700 so I’m not sure why Lewisham is not taking action.”

A council worker spraying Roundup in Mayow Park. Pic: Iris Borgers

A spokesperson from Lewisham Council said: “We are aware of concerns within the community and we take these concerns, and the safety of our park users very seriously.”

“Lewisham Council, and its contractors, as part of our responsibilities in relation to Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, regularly review the use of all herbicides used in the management of its highways, parks and open spaces.”

“Round Up’s active ingredient Glyphosate has only recently undergone a thorough review in Europe and has been reapproved for use in amenity situations as a safe chemical. We will continue to monitor the latest scientific research and take an evidence-based approach.”

“In addition to the use of Round Up and other more traditional cultural methods of weed control, we are exploring alternative methods to enable us to be in a position to stop using Round Up and other glyphosate-containing products if required.”

If you are also concerned about Lewisham Council’s use of weed killer or want more information about the matter, look at the petition here.

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