Dandelions versus pesticides on the playground

Many, if not all, of the province’s school divisions plan to conduct “pesticide control” on school property to control dandelions and other unsightly weeds.

I have a problem with this for several reasons.

Firstly, when did unsightly plants become a problem within schoolgrounds that require poisons to eradicate? And to whom are they unsightly, the children? School board officials? Teachers?

How many schoolkids have complained about unsightly plants on the playground?

Do they not pick dandelions and other natural flowers and plants and examine and study them in their own ways? What child has not taken a dandelion seed ball and blown the head apart into the wind?

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This is now a problem that requires poison to correct?

Have we looked at the beneficial aspects of the dandelion? Do we really remember what it is good for?

Dandelion’s leaves contain abundant amounts of vitamins and minerals. A cup of dandelion leaves contains 112 per cent daily recommendation of vitamin A, 32 per cent of vitamin C, and 535 per cent of vitamin K and 218 mg potassium, 103 mg calcium, and 1.7 mg of iron. Dandelions are also an excellent source of vitamin H, which is proven to aid in weight loss when ingested.

Dandelions, flowers, roots and leaves have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and medicinal teas, most notably for liver detoxification, as a natural diuretic and for inflammation reduction.

Years ago, clover was a prized inhabitant of many lawns, indeed viewed as a status symbol of a well-tended yard site. Then a chemical company discovered a product that could kill clover while leaving the rest of the lawn alone. Following a huge marketing campaign, clover fell into disfavour as a lawn ornament.

Let’s examine the labels of the proposed chemicals being suggested as necessary to eliminate these unsightly blights on our schoolgrounds.

Par III; contains 2,4-D DMA salt, mecoprop DMA salt and dicamba DMA salt.

Effects of Overexposure: May cause loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, general tenseness and muscular weakness.

Casoron G4; active ingredient 2,6-dichlorobenzonitrile, dichlobenil. It is considered harmful to aquatic organisms, and may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment. Do not contaminate surface waters or ditches with chemical.

The EU has outlawed the use of products containing dichlobenil as of March 2010. Denmark banned its use in 1996 due to many reports of groundwater contamination and is still showing groundwater contamination from it to this day.

This is only a partial list of the products intended to be applied to our schoolyards and surrounding areas where our children and grandchildren play. I challenge people to research these products before blindly allowing them to be used in our public places.

Just because it is government approved does not make it safe. One level of government that we rely heavily on for excellent research work for our well-being just cut a whopping $2 million off its $500-billion budget by cancelling the Experimental Lakes Area program.

Many municipalities and cities are banning the cosmetic use of herbicides and pesticides for various reasons. Maybe our institutions of learning should take another look at this program and decide if the risks associated are worth the benefits they deem necessary.

I am personally angry that we have come to this point where we must poison virtually every corner of our planet to satisfy our esthetic principals as it were.

As a taxpayer I object to my money being frittered away in this manner.

Heck, if the various school divisions pooled the money they plan on spending on chemicals and sent it to help maintain the ELA program, we may get some real unbiased answers to what we are doing to our environment.

Please, let my children, grandchildren and others breathe freely without the stench and potential health hazards of chemicals being applied everywhere.

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