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Letter: City of Kamloops' data on herbicide use is misleading

 In fact, the city’s overall herbicide use rose from 94.28 kgai (kilograms of active ingredient) in 2018 to 204.49 kgai in 2019 and then again to 343.18 kgai in 2020.
letter letters letter to the editor

Editor:

Re: KTW’s story of June 7 (‘City of Kamloops says herbicide use is decreasing’):

The article quotes city staffer Kirsten Wourms as saying the city has been testing different techniques to limit the use of herbicides, noting that in a two-year span, the amount of glyphosate used has decreased by 20 litres — moving from 37.9 litres used in 2019 to 17.5 litres in 2021.

Wourms suggests this reduction is part of a downward trend in city herbicide use between 2019 and 2021. 

However, in 2020, Kamloops used 53 litres of glyphosate on city sports fields, roadsides and other public areas. 

 In fact, the city’s overall herbicide use rose from 94.28 kgai (kilograms of active ingredient) in 2018 to 204.49 kgai in 2019 and then again to 343.18 kgai in 2020.

Last year saw the city use 290.72 kgai, down from 2020 levels, but still much higher than levels in 2018 and 2019.  

This suggests that glyphosate and overall herbicide reduction is not a trend.

Wourms also said “The reason for that is that glyphosate is considered one of the least toxic products that we could use.” 

In fact, the World Health Organization just upgraded glyphosate to a probable cancer causer and there are many less-toxic alternatives, as listed online at naturepest.com.

 Also, it is important to note that when the city uses glyphosate (or any herbicide) on hard surfaces, it does not post any public signage to that effect.

In 2021, the city sprayed hard surfaces at bus stops, roadsides, utilities and parks, including McDonald Park, Westsyde Pool and Fitness Centre, the former Stuart Wood elementary, Pioneer Park and all city tennis courts.

Though the city is not required by provincial law to post such areas, it was asked last year to do so due to high pedestrian traffic in such areas. The city declined to do so.  

 It is hoped that Kamloops’ 2022 herbicide use, for which the report will be available to the public in early 2023, will show a further decrease in the use of glyphosate and 2,4-D, particularly in pool and park areas, where children play and run barefoot.  

Bronwen Scott

Kamloops