A Call for Pesticide-Free Town Greens

Mar 14, 2014

A new bill could extend the state's pesticide ban to public parks, playgrounds, and town greens.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons / jetsandzeppelins

Connecticut lawmakers are once again eyeing restrictions on pesticides. A new proposal would ban their use at public parks and town greens.

Connecticut has already banned pesticide applications at K-8 schools. Now, environmentalists are throwing their support behind a bill that would take that restriction even further. "We want to go one better and do parks, playgrounds, athletic fields, and municipal greens in Connecticut," said Jerry Silbert with the Watershed Partnership. He said Connecticut is positioned to have a comprehensive ban on synthetic lawn pesticides at schools and on municipal land. "This would be a landmark decision and the first state in the Union to do this," he said.

Currently, New York is the only other state to ban pesticide applications on school grounds, but its ban does not extend to town greens.

Some groundskeepers and athletic directors have criticized the enhanced pesticide regulations. They say banning EPA-registered chemicals cripples their ability to respond to things like grub outbreaks and that it results in unkempt fields and unsafe playing conditions.

Senate President Don Williams said those critics need to take the long view. "Because we know that whether its pests or whether its weeds, resistance develops and then they survive," he said. "And now you have to use ever more toxic chemicals to kill them, which really is devastating to our environment."

On Monday, the state environment committee will hear testimony on another pesticide bill, this one to extend the state's pesticide ban to high school fields.