Should Europe ban neonicotinoids? In 2013, the EU introduced restrictions on the use of the controversial pesticides (neonicotinoids are a family of insecticides chemically similar to nicotine). Now European Union Member States are set to vote on even tougher restrictions on 12-13 December 2017.
Environmental campaigners argue that “neonics” are harming bee populations globally, potentially causing immense ecological and economic damage as bees act as pollinators for crops and other plants. However, many farmers argue that they rely on neonicotinoids and that food prices would inevitably go up without them (or that farmers would be forced to switch to other pesticides without properly assessing the impact, possibly even increasing the risk to bees).
Since the existing restrictions came into effect, some farmers have been reporting a related increase in crops lost. However, some governments are convinced that farms need to switch to alternatives; France has already decided to go ahead unilaterally with its own neonicotinoid ban, and the United Kingdom has said it would support an EU-wide ban.
What do our readers think? We had a comment from Tom, who believes bee populations are declining across Europe and that it’s linked to pesticide use. Is he right?
To get a response, we spoke to Dave Goulson, Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex and an expert on bumblebees. What would he say?
For another perspective, we also put Tom’s comment to Alina Cretu, Executive Director of the Romanian Maize Growers Association (APPR). How would she respond?
Next up, we had a comment from Nina, who thinks the EU should do something to help protect Europe’s bees. What can it actually do?
To get a response, we approached Martin Dermine, Save the Bees Campaign Coordinator at Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe. What would he say?
Finally, we spoke to Fredrick Federley, a Member of the European Parliament. How would he respond to Nina’s comment? What should the EU do to help protect Europe’s bees?
How do we ensure the protection of bees and other pollinators? What should the EU do to help protect Europe’s bees? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!