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Using Pesticides Safely

We use pesticides on our lands to treat pests, weeds and diseases, and aim to use chemicals in an environmentally responsible way.

Pests and diseases are treated following an Integrated Pest Management approach to ensure pesticides are used only when necessary in an effort to conserve the environment and minimise the potential exposure of park users to chemicals.

Where possible, cultural practices or biological methods are preferred to the use of chemicals. Chemicals used are of the lowest toxicity possible to deal with the problem, and are selected to breakdown without leaving any toxic by-products in the soil or water.

The most widely used product is glyphosate biactive, a herbicide. It is non-toxic to mammals, birds, reptiles and fish, breaks down within 24 hours of use, and does not bind to soil or stay dissolved in water. There are no residual breakdown waste products.

Staff are certified in the application of chemicals and follow stringent Occupational Health and Safety and site procedures to ensure the maximum effect on the target pest is achieved with minimal impact on the environment.

What are pesticides?

A pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances used to destroy, suppress or alter the life cycle of any pest. A pesticide can be a naturally derived or synthetically produced substance. A pesticide can also be an organism, for example, the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis which is used to control a number of insect pests, or even a genetically modified crop.

Pesticides include bactericides, baits, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, lures, rodenticides and repellents. They are used in commercial, domestic, urban and rural environments.

There are currently thousands of pesticide products registered for use in NSW by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.

What are pesticides used for in Centennial Parklands?

There is a range of reasons why the Trust may use pesticides on its lands, including:

  • control of noxious or harmful weeds
  • control of non-native fungus
  • termites control
  • ant control
  • rodent control

In some cases emergency pesticide applications in public places are required to deal with biting or dangerous pests such as wasps, bees, venomous spiders, fleas, bird mites or rodents.

Some very persistent weeds, and some insect pests such as nematodes, require treatment with stronger chemicals to ensure they will be eradicated. The Trust has to balance the need to protect the environment from exposure to chemicals with the equally important objective of preventing the spread and proliferation of undesirable plant species.

Pesticide Use Notification Plan

In accordance with the requirements of the NSW Government's Pesticides Regulation 2017, the Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands has developed a Pesticide Use Notification Plan to ensure the community is notified when pesticides are to be used in our parks and gardens.

The Pesticide Notification Plan incorporates the following communication components regarding pesticide use in Centennial Parklands:

  1. Prominently displayed temporary signs will be placed at the locations prior to the pesticide application commencing. These signs will remain at this site for the remainder of the business day following application of the pesticide.
  2. Where spraying is undertaken in areas adjacent to schools, childcare centres or public buildings, the occupants will also be notified by phone 48 hours prior to any pesticide use.
  3. In cases where emergency pesticide applications in public places are required to deal with biting or dangerous pests, such as wasps, bees, venomous spiders, fleas, bird mites or rodents that pose an immediate health hazard, the Trust will endeavour to place signage in the surrounding area providing a 10 metre exclusion zone between the sign and the treatment area. Where this is not possible, the person applying the pesticide will verbally advise the public at the time of application.
  4. Where certain sites within the Trust’s lands are under lease arrangement, the lessee will be required to notify the public of pesticide usage.

The Pesticide Use Notification Plan is reviewed every five (5) years or when circumstances require a review of the Plan.

Further information

For more information about how pesticides work and how their use is managed in NSW, visit the NSW Government's NSW EPA Website.

FAQs

The Pesticides Regulation 2009 makes it compulsory for anyone applying pesticides in public places to give notice that they are planning to use pesticides through a notification plan.

The Pesticide Use Notification Plan outlines how we will notify the community of pesticide applications in outdoor public places, which in turn allows members of the community to take action to avoid contact with pesticides.

Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands has updated their original plans published over 5 years ago into one amalgamated document. The Pesticide Use Notification Plan will be finalised after public exhibition in May/June 2016.

The plan describes:

  • public places covered by the plan
  • regular uses of these public places and an estimation of the level of use
  • how and when Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands will provide the community with information about its pesticide applications in public places (for example, what notification arrangements will be used)
  • how the community can get more information about Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands notification arrangements
  • contact details for anyone wanting more information on the Pesticide Use Notification Plan
  • special protection measures that will be taken if the pesticide is proposed to be used adjacent to a sensitive place
  • information that will be provided in a notification which may include product name and purpose for which it will be used

The most widely used chemical at Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands is glyphosate biactive to treat unwanted plants (weeds). We follow standard operating procedures to ensure the protection of people, wildlife, and the environment.

Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands balances the need to protect the environment from exposure to chemicals with the equally important objective of preventing the spread and proliferation of undesirable or noxious weed species.

Regular Programs:

  • Pesticides are used on golf courses and other recreational areas to maintain the health and appearance of the turf
  • Annual weed-spray programme targeting bindii and broad leaf weeds on sports fields and other high use turf areas
  • Noxious and environmental weed control for conservation of native vegetation.
  • Baits and sprays to control pests (rats, ants, termites)

The chance of developing a health problem from a pesticide depends on:

  • the toxicity of the pesticide
  • the amount of exposure to the pesticide

In order for a pesticide to affect you, you must be exposed to the pesticide by ingestion, inhalation or getting it on your skin or in your eyes (dermal exposure).

If you are not exposed to the pesticide, it can't harm you. In some cases, a pesticide can be used without people coming into contact with it at all.

Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands undertakes careful strategies to minimise public contact with pesticides, including spraying very early in the morning and placing signage in areas that are being sprayed.

Signage allows members of the community to take action to avoid contact with pesticides, if they wish. Those with allergies should ensure their skin is covered by clothing and wear enclosed footwear.

We prefer to observe what's happening in the park and garden and only use pesticides as required. This helps to minimise the use of pesticides.

We do however, notify visitors of what pesticides are in use by displaying temporary signs, which are placed at the locations prior to the pesticide application commencing. These signs will remain at this site for the remainder of the business day following application of the pesticide.

Yes, we use spot spray around footpaths and target grass areas for broadleaf weeds (e.g. bindii). Pesticide use is about balancing public safety against the benefits pest and weed control provide, to ensure the best outcome.

All preventative measures such as relevant equipment, techniques and methods of application are carried out in accordance to the requirements of the NSW Government's Pesticides Regulation 2009. This regulation requires all users to complete mandatory training. Our horticultural staff and contractors are all accredited. Weather conditions are a key determining factor influencing possible pesticide drift. Staff and contractors are trained to assess changing conditions and to cease operations if unacceptable spray drift occurs.

Weeds are very persistent and difficult to eradicate.
The use of pesticides is regulated by the Pesticides Act which is administered by the NSW EPA. See the website here.
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