Beginning next year, Manitoba will begin enforcing a province-wide ban on most uses of synthetic weed killers and other commercial pesticides.
All private yards and most public green spaces, such as sports fields, will be affected by the ban.
More expensive, and generally less effective alternative pesticides will still be allowed.
The legislation will be very costly for municipalities. Steinbach currently spends about 16,000 dollars to eliminate weeds in public spaces.
Next year they expect that cost to jump to 200,000 dollars.
Many are questioning whether the health benefits will really be worth the extra cost.
They point out that the pesticides that will now be banned were approved by Health Canada after rigorous testing.
The fear is that many will choose to not spray with the more expensive alternatives, and the result will be a flourishing of noxious weeds.
Several eastern provinces have already introduced similar pesticide bans, and on more and more sports fields, grass is being replaced by artificial turf.
The irony is that industrial-strength chemicals are needed to disinfect these fields because the fake grass does not naturally cleanse itself.
Other western provinces should consider all the possible harmful consequences of synthetic pesticide bans before following the lead of Manitoba.
I’m Roger Currie. Join us again next week for more thoughts on the Frontier.
For more on environmental policy, visit our website www.fcpp.org.