The Environment Agency has voiced concerns over continuing evidence that some of the most commonly used domestic pesticides are also those cropping up most frequently in rivers.

It is now calling on retailers, manufacturers and local authorities to play their part in encouraging responsible disposal of leftover pesticides.

Jo Kennedy, the agency’s pesticides policy advisor said: “We can’t be sure what proportion of the pesticides found in rivers is coming from products used in gardens but this shouldn’t stop us from doing something positive to reduce the possibility of contamination.

“Surveys suggest that people are often unaware of the correct methods of disposal of pesticides.
“Many people seem to throw them in the bin or down the sink rather than disposing of them in the proper way by taking them to their local authority amenity site.

“Some people store them indefinitely in their sheds.
“We are asking the pesticide industry, garden centres and local authorities to step up the work they are doing to encourage people to use, store and dispose of pesticides properly.

“Now is a particularly important time to get these messages across, since ongoing review work by the European Commission means some products will be withdrawn from the market over the next few years. “People need clear advice about use-up times and disposal so we avoid a situation where we have lots of sheds full of illegal products.”

In 2003 the UK public spent over £48 million on pesticide and biocide products put to uses including to de-moss lawns, clear algae from decking and to kill ants and wasps and poison rodents.

But it might be more than the weeds that suffer.
When people over apply these products, or dispose of them incorrectly, the chemicals can contaminate watercourses and groundwater and harm wildlife.

Water companies spend millions of pounds every year removing pesticides from water supplies used for drinking.

Follow the links below to find information on the nearest council disposal sites and a full list of products scheduled for withdrawal.

By Sam Bond

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