ICMSA has rejected what it describes as the latest pesticide ‘scare’ and says 99.6% of water samples are compliant.
Patrick Rohan, Chairperson of ICMSA’s Farm and Rural Affairs Committee said the onus was on farmers ‘and others’ to ensure that pesticides were kept away from water.
“The facts indicate that farmers are being extremely careful and conscious in using pesticides,” he said, before pointing out that in 2016, of the 1,223 samples tested for total pesticides, only five exceeded the threshold for pesticides.
“In other words, 99.6% of water samples are compliant: the number of supplies where exceedances regarding total pesticides notified to the EPA has declined between 2015 and 2016 from eight to three respectively.”
The chairman went on to say that while it was often reported that the number of water supplies with pesticide incidence had increased in recent years, that most likely reflected the fact that the level of testing had also significantly increased.
“It actually does not indicate any underlying growth in pesticide exceedances,” said Mr Rohan.
“We don’t think further restrictions regarding the use of pesticides – increasing the buffer zone, for instance – would significantly alter the already incredibly low pesticide incidence in our waterways, but it would most certainly have a significant effect on farmer productivity. “ICMSA believes that raising awareness and continuous education programmes have worked very well and should continue.”