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Switzerland May Soon Become First European Country to Ban Artificial Pesticides, Referendum on 13 June

Switzerland may become the first European nation to ban use of artificial pesticides in a June 13 referendum.

Abha Toppo
Use of Pesticides in Agriculture

Switzerland may become the first European nation to ban use of artificial pesticides in a June 13 referendum. Globally it is only Bhutan that has put a complete ban on synthetic pesticides, as per the supporters who are aiming to forbid the use of products made by agrochemical giants like Germany's Bayer & BASF and Switzerland's Syngenta.

The artificial products cause severe health issues and reduce biodiversity, supporters of the ban said. On the other hand, manufacturers said their pesticides are thoroughly tested and regulated and can be used safely.

Besides, another initiative that will be voted on the same day aims to enhance the quality of Switzerland's drinking water & food by impeding direct subsidies to growers who use artificial pesticides & antibiotics in livestock.

According to a recent Tamedia poll, 48 percent of voters favoured the drinking water initiative while 49 percent supported the pesticide ban.

Swiss winemaker Roland Lenz said, if adopted, the proposals will give farmers up to ten years to make the transition that will make Switzerland a pioneer in organic food and an example to the rest of the world.

The clean water initiative also wants growers to stop using imported animal feed, to restrict the numbers of chickens, cows and pigs in Switzerland and also the manure they produce that can pollute drinking water.

"People have been sold a romantic picture of farming in Switzerland that is far removed from reality," according to Pascal Scheiwiller, a supporter of the clean water campaign, which estimates one million Swiss people drink contaminated water.

The Swiss Farmers Union told that many of its members feel their way of life is under siege.

President of the Zurich Farmers Association, Martin Haab said, "A lot of people in the cities think if they have 2 tomatoes growing on the balcony of their apartment they understand farming". He added that "I look back 200 years back when we could not protect our plants & animals, and we had hunger in Switzerland & all over Europe”.

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