This Friday, Member nations of the European Union are expected to approve a resolution to fully ban neonicotinoids, a type of pesticide credited with causing a decline in pollinator populations. The ban will likely go into effect by the end of the year.
The EU has already banned neonicotinoid pesticides, neonic for short, for some flowering crops that frequently attract bees and other pollinators.
Bee colonies around the world began a steady decline beginning in 1980. By 2010, alarm bells were being raised by the scientific community that some pesticides as well as other factors, like climate change and declining biodiversity, were causing harm to vitally important pollinators.
Pollinators, like the honey bee, are needed to pollinate 75% of the crops we grow. One in three bites of food is the result of hardworking pollinating insects. Their decline and extinction would have major ramifications on farming and feeding humans around the world..
“Bee health remains of paramount importance for me since it concerns biodiversity, food production and the environment.” said Vytenis Adriukaitis, the European commissioner for Health and Food Safety, lauding the vote as an important step forward.
Neonicotinoids are a type of nerve agent that impacts the basic function of bees. Hives impacted by neonics produce fewer queen bees and damage the memories of worker bees, making it more difficult to locate food sources, even if they’ve already been visited.
If Friday’s resolution passes, the EU will be the first major association of governing bodies to ban neonic pesticides, which could have a major positive impact around the world. The industry is bound to push back, but hopefully more governments will join the EU in banning these pesticides. Want to weigh in yourself? Join the more than 4 million people have signed this petition asking the EU to vote for a ban.