South Portland considers city-wide pesticide ban | News

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South Portland considers city-wide pesticide ban

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- South Portland city councilors are looking into banning pesticides throughout the city.

Councilor Tom Blake said pesticides are wreaking havoc on the environment, and they want to protect the health of their citizens.

Phil Roberts has been in the gardening business his entire life; his family owns Broadway Gardens. He's been studying the effects of pesticides for 30 years, and said he's worried the city is acting without enough information.

While he agrees there should be limits on the use of harmful products, organic options don't always solve the problem; need to be sprayed more often; and in some cases, can actually be more harmful.

The ban would mean that homeowners have to start with organic options to freshen up their lawn, or get rid of any pests. That means if a family has a flea or ant infestation, they'd be forced to start with organic products for treatment, which Roberts said often don't work as well.

Councilor Blake said in cases like that, homeowners would be able to file an appeal to use something stronger to rid their home of pests.

"Southern Maine has a very high incidence of cancer and respiratory problems especially in young people," said Blake. "Nationwide there is a severe decline in bats, bees, and birds, and it's a proven fact that this is primarily due to America's excessive use of pesticides."

Ogunquit is the only other town in Maine to place restrictions on landscaping pesticides. Code enforcement officer Scott Heyland admits it's been a learning curve.

He said residents have complained that organic alternatives aren't working as well to get rid of pests, but they're moving in the right direction for the town's overall health.

South Portland plans to continue the conversation in a few more workshops. You can find out more information on when those are happening by visiting the city's website.


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