Flanders uses less pesticides

Public authorities in Flanders are using fewer and fewer pesticides. The active ingredient used fell from 3.7 tonnes in 2019 over 2.5 tonnes in 2020 to 1.9 tonnes in 2021. This was revealed in a report by the Flemish Environment Agency (VMM) on the sustainable use of pesticides.

Although there has been a ban in principle on the use of pesticides for all public services since 2015, pesticides can still be used under certain conditions and in specific circumstances. For generic derogations - for pest species for which pesticide-free control methods do not yet exist - no application needs to be submitted. Other derogations must be requested from the VMM. Public authorities are also subject to a reporting obligation.

In 2021, the VMM saw a further decrease in the use of pesticides by public authorities. Since 2010, use fell from 15.7 tonnes to 1.9 tonnes of active ingredient. That's the lowest amount since the ban came into force. Herbicides, which control certain plants, accounted for about 95 per cent of pesticides used. The share of insecticides was. The most commonly used active ingredient was glysophate, followed by 2,4-D, MCPA and Bacillus thuringiensis.

Federal agencies account for 81 per cent of pesticide use, with 1.5 tonnes of active ingredient. Rail infrastructure manager Infrabel, for instance, uses pesticides to maintain the railway bed and the adjacent safety track. Infrabel's spray train used 978 kilograms of active substance on the main tracks in 2021. The contractors maintaining sidings and installations used 489 kilograms of active substance.

Municipalities account for 9 per cent of pesticide use. The municipality of Koksijde reported having used 36 kilograms of active substance, mainly for the maintenance of the Golf Ter Hille golf complex, making it the major user among the municipalities reporting their pesticide use.


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