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Daily News Archive
From June 28, 2001

Six Seattle Parks Go Pesticide-Free

The City of Seattle announced today the creation of six completely pesticide-free parks. The City also announced a 46% reduction in overall pesticide use in the year 2000, a result of its 1999 commitment to cut the use of pesticides to maintain parks, roadsides, and other city property.

"Seattle is leading the way in showing that we can have beautiful parks without using poisons," said Erika Schreder of Washington Toxics Coalition. "Pesticide-free parks mean healthy kids and clean water."

The City began intensive efforts to reduce pesticide use in October 1999, when it responded to public calls for reducing pesticides with a commitment to a 2000 phase-out of the use of the most hazardous pesticides and a 30% decrease in overall pesticide use by 2002. The City has implemented an aggressive program to use alternatives to pesticides in order to achieve its goal.

Seattle community groups and residents applauded the City for its success in reducing the use of harmful pesticides, and called for additional pesticide-free parks in the future.

"The City is taking an important step in the direction of becoming pesticide free. The parks where our children play is the best place to start, and the benefits reach beyond kids and other park users," said Pam Johnson of People for Puget Sound. "The fish and wildlife that live downstream from pesticide-laden runoff need this effort and more like it to protect their homes."

"Every year in the U.S., 70,000 birds are killed by pesticides," said Lauren Braden of Seattle Audubon Society. "Reducing pesticides invites more life into parks and yards."

Seattle residents Maxine Centala and Jennifer Kropack were among a group of advocates that inspired the pesticide-free parks program. They requested it in early 1999 after the group purchased a meeting with Mayor Schell at a charity auction.

Community advocate Nancy Morris was part of the group. She said, "I hope one day all parks will be pesticide free. I look forward to the day when I can walk in a large park like Green Lake or Discovery Park and know that no pesticides have been used."

Groups also urged Seattle residents to work toward making their local parks pesticide-free. Residents can contact the Parks Department for summary information of what pesticides are used in their local park and for what purpose, and work with Parks to reduce pesticide use.

For more information contact Erika Schreder at Washington Toxics Coalition at 206-632-1545, eschreder@watoxics.org or see their website at http://www.watoxics.org.