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Guernsey Water urges Islanders to "think before you spray" during warmer weather
With the recent improvement in temperatures before Easter and forecasts of similar weather in the weeks ahead, Guernsey Water is reminding the public to limit the use of herbicides and pesticides in their gardens and to deploy them responsibly so to limit the exposure of hazardous chemicals entering the local environment.
The company advises that pesticides and herbicides should be used with caution and in line with professional guidance and not be applied to vulnerable areas of local habitat such as stream banks, ponds, wet meadows, marshy areas, douits, drainage ditches, culverts or paved areas. Guernsey Water is, instead, encouraging the use of green alternatives such as the rotation of crops, hand removal of weeds, vinegar sprays or utilising mulch or wood chips as a weed barrier.
Margaret McGuinness, Water Quality Risk Manager at Guernsey Water, said: "With people spending increased amounts of time in their gardens during the Covid19 lockdown, we felt it timely to offer advice on how we can help protect the local environment whilst enjoying our time outdoors."
She continued: "If you are going to use either herbicides or pesticides, always follow the professional guidelines provided and limit usage to essential treatments. However, we would rather encourage natural alternatives where possible as it is better for the environment, and for our water treatment, if we avoid the unnecessary use of chemicals in the first place."
Where chemicals are required, Guernsey Water advises the use of the following guidelines which should be followed even if the areas are dry at the time of application and the product labelling indicates it can be used in or near watercourses:
• Don't apply pesticides in wet or windy conditions, or if rain is forecast within a few days, this can lead to run-off and contamination
• Slug pellets containing Met aldehyde should not be applied within ten metres of vulnerable areas
• Direct application may be carefully used up to one metre from the edge of the vulnerable areas identified above
• Spraying should not be carried out within three metres of a douit, stream, pond or other watercourse
• Spraying on paved areas should be avoided and hand weeding or direct application methods are best under these circumstances
• The commercial application of pesticides must only be undertaken by trained personnel holding a certificate of competence
• Washings from containers must not be allowed to enter surface water gullies or drains.
As part of its commitment to helping to protect the environment, Guernsey Water has ceased using all herbicides on its sites, aside from those required for invasive species like Japanese knotweed, which are treated in accordance with professional and specific procedures.
For further advice, or to report a pollution incident, please call Guernsey Water on (01481) 239500