Community group wins citywide protection from chemical pesticides
Portland city councilors unanimously pass bold new ordinance
For Immediate Release (January 5, 2018)
[Portland, Maine] — On January 3, 2018, residents of Portland, Maine, won the unanimous passage of a citywide ordinance to end dangerous pesticide use and promote healthy, organic landcare.
The Portland Protectors, with support from Toxics Action Center, brought one of the nation’s strongest ordinances before city council to stop chemical pesticide use on all public and private lands in Portland. In a late-night hearing, city councilors voted 9-0 to approve the ordinance in a move that will safeguard the health of residents citywide.
Pesticides are linked to asthma, learning disabilities, birth defects and cancer. The chemicals also threaten our food system by killing the pollinators we need to keep our farms healthy.
“We are pleased by the City Council’s action and ready to move forward with the transition to organic management of parks, playing fields, and home yards as part of a landmark program for a healthy Portland,” said Avery Yale Kamila, co-founder of Portland Protectors.
In the last two decades, Maine has seen a seven-fold increase in lawn-care pesticides. With this ordinance, the Portland Protectors take a bold step towards reversing this dangerous trend. Portland is now the biggest city in the country to ban the use of toxic pesticides on public and private lands.
“While we’re seeing leadership fail on the national level, we’re seeing grassroots leaders step up to deliver the protections we need,” said Angel Vallejos, Maine State Director at Toxics Action Center. “This move is a big step locally to protect our health and environment.”
In September 2016, under the leadership of the community group Protect South Portland, neighboring South Portland passed a similar pesticide use ordinance to ban dangerous pesticides on public and private land. The ground-breaking organic land care ordinance was one of the first of its kind and community leaders hoped that it would kick off a trend in Maine and beyond — and it did.
Portland Protectors is a not-for-profit organization that is committed to banning the use of synthetic pesticides in the City of Portland, Maine. Learn more at www.portlandprotectors.org.
Toxics Action Center works side-by-side with communities to prevent or clean up pollution in New England. Learn more at www.toxicsaction.org.