Council Approves "Pesticide Free Zones"
At the Tuesday, October 5, 2010 Council meeting the Resolution 10-299 was approved which identifies key borough properties to be "Pesticide Free Zones". Borough officials joined with Jane Nogaki, Program Coordinator for NJ Environmental Federation (NJEF) for a presentation after the Resolution approval.
Photo: From Left to Right: Jeffrey King, Environmental Commission Co Chair; Council persons Nancyanne Fama, Andy Mayer; Jane Nogaki, NJ Environmental Federation Program Coordinator; Jon Cohen, Env. Commission Co-Chair; Council persons Scott Larkin, Duane Morill, and Gary Baldwin, Council President.
The following press information was released:
"Tinton Falls is going green at its parks and open space by adopting an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policy resolution that declares parks and playgrounds as "Pesticide Free Zones." According to Andy Mayer, Council member and liaison to the Tinton Falls Environmental Commission and, reducing non-point source pollution from toxic pesticides to waterways and protecting public health are key priorities for the Township, and this policy will be a step towards pollution prevention.
The IPM policy for the township identifies key sensitive areas like the parks to be managed without harmful chemical pesticides. IPM calls for the management of insects, undesired plants, and plant diseases with tools that are least likely to impact human health or the environment.
"We need residents to do their part also in reducing pesticides in our environment and keeping our air, water and land safe from toxic chemicals," said Councilman Andy Mayer who brought the PFZ resolution to the attention of the town elected officials. "Residents can participate by making their own property a "Pesticide Free Zone."
"I commend Tinton Falls' commitment to protecting parks and open spaces and reducing its pesticide use," said Jane Nogaki, program coordinator for NJ Environmental Federation (NJEF). "Since IPM is now the law on all New Jersey school grounds, it makes perfect sense to try to expand it to all public property as well. We're here today to help spread the word and to encourage individual homeowners to consider reducing or eliminating their own pesticide use. Fortunately, alternatives exists that are cost effective and friendly to the environment, simple things like hand pulling weeds, mowing at a height of 3 inches to shade out weeds, mulching areas properly to prevent weeds, planting native plants that don't get insect problems, and reducing or eliminating lawns to cut down on the need for watering, fertilizing and mowing.
Weeds can be reduced by overseeding bare spots in the fall, spreading leaf compost and watering infrequently (once a week) but deeply to encourage deep roots. Healthy turf is the best defense. Controlling phosphorus and nitrogen levels in fertilizer and not fertilizing before heavy rains, when the ground is frozen, or near waterways is just common sense. Excess phosphorus and water soluble nitrogen can leach into local waterways, causing excessive plant growth and depriving fish of the oxygen they need to survive.
"I am pleased that when residents and visitors use the parks, they will not be exposed to pesticides. That was always important to me when my children were small, said Nogaki. Environmental Commission Chair Jon Cohen and Co-Chairman Jeff King met with parks and recreation staff to gather support for the policy' "We found the staff to be very much on board, which is important because they are the ones who maintain the grounds on a daily basis," said Jon Cohen, EC Commission Chair.
Tinton Falls joins 40 other communities, and is one of eight communities in Monmouth County, which have designated Pesticide Free Zones in parks including Asbury Park, Colts Neck, Hazlet, Neptune, Ocean Township, Oceanport, and Red Bank. The NJ Environmental Federation has been working with the Environmental Partnership, chaired by Mary Kinlsow, a West Long Branch resident to promote Pesticide Free Zones in parks and open spaces in all their participating communities. The Environmental Partnership is a volunteer coalition of municipal Environmental Commissions from the following towns: Red Bank, Tinton Falls, Spring Lake, Long Branch, Oceanport, Shrewsbury, Little Silver, Ocean Township and Eatontown.
Many scientific studies indicate that pesticides threaten the public's health by increasing the risk of cancer, learning disabilities, asthma, birth defects, and reproductive problems. These chemicals can also poison animals, pollute local streams and rivers and seep through the ground into underground aquifers. Every body of water tested in NJ has evidence of pesticide contamination, according to a study by the US Geological Survey. Children are especially sensitive and vulnerable because of their rapid development and behavior patterns. Currently New Jersey uses about 4 million pounds of pesticides annually for lawn care, mosquito control, agricultural production, and golf course maintenance.
"We especially want to protect children because they are closer to pesticide applications on the ground, and they are still developing and absorb more pesticides than adults," said Nogaki."