Letter: Spraying Roundup in Okanagan Centre unacceptable

The use of Roundup to control/eliminate poison ivy on the lakefront is absolutely not acceptable.

Open letter to The Hon. James Baker and members of Council,

I am writing to protest in the strongest possible terms the spraying of toxic substances on the public ‘greenspace’ in Okanagan Centre. The use of Roundup to control/eliminate poison ivy on the lakefront is absolutely not acceptable.

Roundup is a poisonous chemical mix that poses a health threat not only to humans. It is particularly lethal to amphibians and to a lesser extent fish. It is toxic to earthworms, beneficial insects, birds, and mammals and it destroys the vegetation they depend on for food and shelter. The active ingredient glyphosate (and Monsanto does not have to reveal the precise composition of Roundup so who knows what else it contains) reduces the growth of beneficial soil-dwelling fungi. Roundup shows adverse effects in all standard categories of toxicological testing, including medium-term toxicity, long-term toxicity, genetic damage, effects on reproduction, and carcinogenicity.  Spraying Roundup on the foreshore of Lake Okanagan ensures contamination of the land and the lake water and thus puts human and non-human life forms at risk.

Roundup kills all the green plants it touches.

I understand some people’s concern about the effects of the rhus toxicodendron plant. But the plant grows near the path in specific areas and is rooted into the soil. It is easily identifiable. There is warning signage. Humans can avoid it.  The plant does not jump up and rub itself over selected victims. Children can be taught to identify the plant and give it a wide berth. Babies can be kept away by their caregivers. And if (heaven forbid) someone should contract the itching blisters of poison ivy (and how many have actually done so?) and there are a few days of discomfort, isn’t it comforting to know that the reaction is relatively benign and will pass in a short period of time, unlike the pollution of earth and water that results from the application of Roundup?

As much as Monsanto would like us to believe Roundup is harmless, numerous studies point out that it is not. And how can a corporation that derives 50% of its corporate profit from the sale of Roundup be expected to be transparent?

The use of toxic chemicals to enhance a ‘greenspace’ is ironic and counter-intuitive at best; woefully misguided and ignorant at worst. I ask you to please reconsider the removal of the poison ivy. And certainly please do not spray Roundup along the lake.

Ellen Turnbull,

Okanagan Centre