Anti-pesticides activists, including Reverend Billy and The Church of Stop Shopping, The No Spray Coalition, The Black Institute and more, have joined up to push the Parks Department to go glyphosate-free in New York City parks, as part of a new group called Coalition Against Poison Parks. Data received via a recent FOIL (Freedom of Information Letter) request to the city agency showed that use of Monsanto‘s cancer-causing RoundUp is going up, not down, in our parks.
The Parks Department led by Commissioner Mitchell Silver, thus far, is resisting removing Roundup from its Arsenal, literally — also the name of the agency headquarters along Fifth Avenue outside Central Park. Coalition Against Poison Parks will hold an action on Arsenal steps today, February 16th at 2:30 p.m.
The revealing parks data is now viewable on an interactive map which shows where Roundup, also known as glyphosate, was used and how often in 2014 (though data varies).
The data does not include information from private conservancies, such as the Central Park Conservancy, which are not subjected to open government FOIL law. Central Park spans 840 acres – adding up to quite a large gap of missing reported Roundup applications. This is another example of how so-called “public-private” “partnerships” obscure information from the very public these parks are allegedly serving.
Roundup is used to kill weeds which were previously pulled up by hand before cuts in the Parks Department budget up to twenty years ago – yet this still could be done. The Parks Department under Mayor De Blasio is on the wrong side of this important issue, continuing to utilize a substance found to be cancer-causing, with a whole host of issues harmful to human health, and is notably dangerous for pets, wildlife, and our environment.
Note: At the recent C.B. 2 Parks committee meeting with Washington Square as the main item on the agenda, the Parks Department stated that it does not use herbicides, pesticides or rodenticides at the park. It does not show up on the Roundup interactive map.
From the press release:
Anti-Pesticides Activists Release Interactive Map Showing Where New York City Sprays Monsanto’s Cancer-Causing “RoundUp” | Action Today at Parks HQ
Action TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2016
Stop Shopping Choir and anti-spray activists at Parks Department in support of poison-free parks will meet, speak & sing on the steps directly in front of “the Arsenal”, headquarters of the NYC Parks Dept.
830 5th Ave. and 62nd St. in Manhattan, snow or shine!
In addition to Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir and the Lower East Side Girls Club choir, speakers include Bertha Lewis (The Black Institute) and Mitchel Cohen (No Spray Coalition).
New York City residents can now discover if New York City sprays Monsanto’s cancer-causing Roundup on their corners, parks, playgrounds, sidewalks and picnic areas. The interactive map is published at http://www.revbilly.com/map.
The map will be presented to Parks Commissioner Silver at a meeting with the The Black Institute, Reverend Billy and The Stop Shopping Choir, No Spray Coalition and other members of the Coalition Against Poison Parks, on Tuesday afternoon following the gathering on the Parks Dept.’s front steps. The groups demand an end to the use of Roundup and glyphosate in New York City and full public disclosure.
Reverend Billy and The Stop Shopping Choir is pursuing legal options to force the City to reveal all locations where glyphosate is sprayed.
According to “Pesticide Use by New York City Agencies in 2014,” published in June 2015, New York City applied glyphosate 2,748 times. Through a Freedom of Information Law request, the City has revealed only 2,000 locations of glyphosate in 2014. Data from Central Park and other areas managed by non-profit private conservancies has not been shared with the public.
Before the meeting, there will be a choir performance in support of the proposed RoundUp Ban on the steps of the Parks Department headquarters at the Arsenal at Central Park. Members of the Lower East Side Girls Club and The Stop Shopping Choir will perform at 2:30 pm. The public are welcome to join the Choirs in song.
Monsanto’s RoundUp continues to be the major weapon in the New York City Parks Department’s arsenal of dangerous herbicides. The World Health Organization now says that RoundUp’s key ingredient, glyphosate, is a probable carcinogen.
The frequency of Parks Department’s application of Monsanto’s RoundUp doubled since 2013 when 1,300 spraying events were reported, paralleling the laying off of hundreds of workers who used to “weed” by hand.
In 2014, overall herbicides use increased by 16% with a 9% increase in the volume of glyphosate applied — all at a time when the public is becoming increasingly concerned with synthetic pesticides and herbicides.
Studies have found glyphosate to also be linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers, birth defects, and celiac disease, allergies, asthma, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Glyphosate is also one of the main causes of the devastation of the Monarch butterfly and the poisoning of pets and wildlife. Pesticides are hormone disruptors; many have been linked to Parkinson’s disease and other grave neurological disorders.
Glyphosate is persistent in body tissue, blood and breast milk. Exposure to RoundUp and other herbicides and pesticides has caused pregnancy problems, including stillbirths, infertility, and greatly lowered sperm counts.
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The Coalition Against Poisoned Parks is calling on NYC’s government to stop its use of glyphosate in our public parks and other public areas.
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Previously at Washington Square Park Blog: