You know those DO NOT WALK signs warning you to stay off someone’s lawn? Unless you have some seriously grumpy neighbours, the sign means that lawn has been sprayed with pesticides.
Pesticides are mixtures of chemicals used to wipe out bugs, weeds and other pests, and they’re definitely not something you want to roll around in. The good news is if you live in Ontario you are free to wander on any lawn you want, because the Government of Ontario banned pesticides this spring!
Only a few people are getting a free pass:
- Farmers will still be able to use pesticides
- Golf courses will also be allowed to keep up the dirty habit
If you’re not in Ontario don’t stress – more and more cities, towns and people are giving these troublesome toxins the boot. Even though pesticides are good for wiping out weeds and other bugs, they can have some majorly bad effects on the environment!
The Bald Eagle is a great animal example of how dangerous pesticides can be – they had some major issues with them in the 1960s. Scientists back then noticed that eagles were laying super thin eggs that cracked under their mothers’ weight. It turned out that DDT, a super-powerful pesticide, was the cause. DDT was banned in Canada in 1985 and the eagles have been making a comeback ever since.
- It’s really easy for pesticides to seep into the ground and get into drinking water or rivers
- Wind can also carry them for miles, far away from where they were made or used
- Some of these chemicals have even made it to the Arctic, where there definitely aren’t any lawns
- Pesticides are suspected of causing terrible diseases like cancer, and birth defects in human and baby animals
A pesticide ban is GREAT news, but, pests and weeds aren’t just going to disappear on their own, so what are people supposed to do? Well, nature has a pretty good system that’s done just fine for hundreds of millions of years.
Tips for Avoiding Pesticides
- Invite good bugs into your yard to feast on aphids and other unwelcome pests. Worms, ladybugs and spiders are all natural gardeners… make sure not to hurt them if you find them in your garden!
- Convince your parents to mow the lawn less often. Longer grass can stand up to weeds.
- Get your hands dirty and dig out some weeds
- Some weeds don’t have to be destroyed… Dandelion leaves are actually pretty tasty in salads!