Pesticide abolition in agriculture: Switzerland prepares to vote historic referendum, first in the world

Switzerland votes for the abolition of chemical pesticides from agriculture. This is the first country to take such a step

He is about to end up run over, his mother saves him

Switzerland is preparing to vote on the abolition of chemical pesticides from national agriculture in a climate more than ever divided between economic interests and environmental protection. This is the first country to take such a step.

The popular initiative For a Switzerland without synthetic pesticides he asked for and obtained the approval of a referendum calling for the definitive abolition of synthetic pesticides in agriculture (and beyond) over the next ten years. The decision would concern not only the products grown on the national territory, but also the care of green areas and gardens and the protection of outdoor infrastructures (such as, for example, railway tracks). Furthermore, the import of agricultural products grown with chemicals will no longer be allowed either.

If the yes passes, Switzerland would be the first country in the world to completely ban the use of synthetic pesticides. An excellent result for an already virtuous country: currently, in fact, half of Swiss farms already renounce synthetic pesticides in favor of more sustainable agriculture. The appointment at the polls for next 13 June.

The population and public opinion find themselves divided on this issue with its great impact on the environment and on the defense of biodiversity. According to a poll conducted by the SSR broadcaster, 55% of Swiss citizens are willing to vote Yes the abolition of chemical pesticides from agriculture. Of these, most (65% of the participants) live in the city, while only 41% from the countryside.

Il initiative committee claims: Synthetic pesticides are very toxic chemicals that contaminate rivers, drinking water and food and are harmful to health. The procedure for their approval in Switzerland would be too lax and would lead to the contamination of drinking water. The aim of the initiative is to rid Switzerland of these poisons.

(Read: Bayer, appeal on neonicotinoid pesticides dismissed: European Court of Justice saves bees)

On the front of the No lined up Parliament and Government, which fears an increase in production prices and a difficulty in supplying products. In fact, Switzerland imports more than 60% of the agricultural products consumed annually on the national territory from abroad and banning the imports of products grown with synthetic pesticides would enormously undermine the economic stability of the country.

For the Federal Council and Parliament the requested ban is excessive: it would restrict the supply of Swiss food and the choice of imported food. In the context of production, hygiene rules would be more difficult to comply with. The ban would also violate international trade agreements.

Source: Portal of the Swiss Government

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