There is an argument going on in Adeje over the use of glyphosate, a broad-spectrum systemic weedkiller. The Coalición Canaria (CC) group has denounced its use, arguing that it is damaging to the endocrine systems of both humans and animals, not least because it contaminates the borough’s water supply. They say that glyphosate is considered so dangerous to health and environment that it is banned in many European countries along with other very dangerous toxins.
Indeed, in Spain, a 2012 law prevents the use of agricultural herbicides in urban environments to mitigate health risks, and yet, says the CC, Adeje’s governing socialist group continuues to spray this weedkiller indiscriminately in barrancos, children’s parks, sports installations, around schools and health centres – in short, in any public place without exception, not even restricting the works to nighttime, and without any signs to warn the public to avoid the areas which have been treated.
The Mayor of Adeje, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, says, however, that glyphosate is an authorized product, and that its use is permitted. Sr Fraga said that it was employed only when necessary, and then used by qualified personnel. The mayor assured the public that all safeguards were taken, and that its recent use was because of rapid weed growth, the result of recent rains.
There will now be a council debate on the issue because the CC has presented a motion to prohibit the use of herbicides in the municipality, and to control weeds by non-chemical means. Adeje is very unlikely to be the only council which uses such products, though – only a fortnight ago several birds were found dead in Los Cristianos under a park bench, presumably after being affected after eating weedkiller-sprayed seeds or insects, and the issue of danger to pets has been a concern to many for some time.