Greenpeace. More than two-thirds of pollen collected by bees and led to their hives in European fields is contaminated by a cocktail of toxic pesticides. This is the result of an alarming new study by Greenpeace International, published as part of the European campaign to save the bees and protect agriculture. The chemicals detected in pollen include insecticides, miticides, fungicides and herbicides.
The report called "the Bees' burden", with over 100 samples from 12 countries, is the largest of its kind in Europe in terms of geographical areas concerned and the number of samples taken at the same time. In the aggregate 53 different chemicals were identified. The study highlights: the wide range fungicides found in high concentrations in pollen collected next to Italian vineyards, the widespread use of insecticides killing bees in polish fields, the DDE (DDT' breakdown product, bioaccumulative and toxic) present in Spain and the frequent discovery of the neonicotinoid thiacloprid in many samples collected in Germany.
"The report confirms the high exposure of bees and other pollinators to a incredibly toxic pesticide cocktail." Said Federica Ferrario, chairperson of the Greenpeace sustainable agriculture campaigner. "There is something fundamentally wrong with the current agricultural system that it's based on a wide use of toxic pesticides, large-scale monocultures and alarming agricultural control by certain agrochemical companies such as Bayer, Syngenta & Co,"
The report confirms the result of a recent study by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which shows a lack of knowledge about bees and pollinators health including the effects of the "cocktail of pesticides" and calls on the EU and national governments to fill these information gaps with additional scientific investigations.
"The bees, and not only them, are potentially exposed to deadly poisons. This is yet another demonstration that we need a radical change towards more sustainable farming and Europe must do its part, right now. " Concludes Ferrario.
In the light of the findings from the new report on pollen contamination, Greenpeace calls the European Commission and national governments to completely ban the use of pesticides like clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and fipronil, which are currently subject to a temporary ban, and prohibit other pesticides which are harmful to bees and other pollinators (including chlorpyrifos, cypermethrin and deltamethrin). Greenpeace also calls for the urgent adoption of an action plan for bees in order to assess the effects of pesticides on pollinators and reduce its use; stimulate research and development of clean techniques of pest management and promote environmentally friendly farming practices.
To protest against the killer pesticide found in bee pollen, more than 20 Greenpeace activists today launched a banner of 170 square meters in front of the Bayer headquarters in Leverkusen (Germany), with the inscription: "Bayer: stop killing", symbolically held by two bees. With this action, activists are emphasizing how agrochemical industries are those most responsible for the decline of bees in the current industrial Agriculture model.
Read the report "the bees' burden"
See article by A. Cianciullo in his blog on The Republic (Italian)