Slug poison found in drinking water

Garden slug

Slug poison was found in one in eight rivers and reservoirs used for drinking water in England and Wales according to the Environment Agency’s (EA) most recent survey.

This has prompted environmentalists to call for greater use of natural predators instead of chemicals. Last November, levels 100 times higher than EU regulations were detected at a water treatment intake on the River Stour in Essex, which supplies water to homes in Essex and Suffolk.

Levels spiked in late 2011 and persisted into 2012 due to wet weather creating runoff and ideal slug breeding conditions.

The obvious source of slug pellets is our gardens, but huge quantities of this chemical are also being used to grow rape seed oil, winter beans, sugar beet and brassicas such as broccoli.

There is currently no regulation to stop widespread use of the chemical and Pond Conservation director Jeremy Biggs said current methods for limiting runoff were ineffective, although he added there were few concerns about human health.

5 responses to “Slug poison found in drinking water

  1. How disturbing. They need to populate their gardens and farms with frogs. Frogs will eat the slugs and they are much cuter.

  2. High levels of slug poison in rivers is obviously undesirable for everyone. Imagine being a farmer desperately trying to save a crop and finding that the expensive chemical has washed away! One of the problems with using natural predators is that if you put them in the field too early they starve to death before the slugs arrive. If you manage to introduce them at the right time, but the weather changes, Sod’s Law means that the predators die while the slugs are unaffected, and of course giving the slugs a head start is never a good idea. Leaving slug (or any other pest) control to completely natural populations of predators is subject to all the above problems, although it can be spectacularly successful in about 1 year in 10. But are you prepared to wait 10 years for some slug free potatoes, or margarine that is cheaper then butter?
    What we need is more research on non chemical controls, (or even better chemicals), but over the last 40 years the UK Government has closed at least 8 agricultural research institutes, several university departments, most of the Experimental Husbandry farms, and cut the size of the remaining research institutes by about 2/3. Research done in other countries suits conditions on foreign farms. All this leaves British Farmers at the mercy of the international chemical companies with the sad consequences for British rivers.

  3. Pesticides and Herbicides are the bane of our society. Ever since I started work as Garden Steward at Offley Place in Hertfordshire in 1965, I refused to use any chemicals, and have never used them since. The world seems to be catching up at last!

  4. Reblogged this on Point4CounterPoint.

  5. Buffer strips and headlands, grassy margins or better still flower rich margins around the farmer’s fields would help in the long run. Yes, I’d like to see less usage of chemical inputs but they will take time, I guess. These options are all available under the Environmental Stewardship schemes and the Campaign for the Farmed Environment options also cover these. More effort is needed to alleviate problems such as those mentioned because with a changing climate, things will only get worse.

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