Check out this TikTok capturing video of this summer’s pesticide spraying, this time in Queens. Watch the truck charging down the street with its plume fogging toxic pesticides as this unnecessary and harmful practice continues. A multitude of neighborhoods throughout New York City’s five boroughs were sprayed this summer continuing into late September, the latest the City has ever sprayed. Let’s stop it next year! If you’d like to get involved, please contact us via the Contact page and also sign up to get emails from this site on the sidebar.
FROM THE FIGHT AGAINST MONSANTO’S ROUNDUP: THE POLITICS OF PESTICIDES
by Mitchel Cohen
Max Schmid, the long-time host of WBAI radio’s Sunday night show The Golden Age of Radio, was heading home from work at two o’clock in the morning and was in the streets on a night several years ago that NYC was spraying the new combination of pesticides. He got out of the subway at Broadway and 46th Street in Astoria, Queens, his regular station. “After the long trip up the stairs I had to stop to catch my breath. I heard a loudspeaker coming down the block, coming down Broadway: ‘Clear the streets immediately, seek shelter, go inside until the truck passes. New York City is spraying for West Nile virus, so get off the street.’ Of course, Broadway is totally closed; there’s nowhere to go except back down into the subway.
I opted to jaywalk across the busy street against the light, and hightailed it up 45th Street. I got around thirty feet up and turned to watch as the truck came by spraying. They went right down Broadway, y’know, about ten feet behind the announcement truck. I hope my friends in the Boss of Tacos truck got their flaps closed in time, ’cause they would have been directly hit by this thing. There’s nowhere to go. There’s not enough warning, and I was sprayed.”
The NYC Department of Health took over direction of the spraying in the early 2000s from the Office of Emergency Management. At the prompting of anti-pesticide activists, in 2005 the New York City Council responded to the growing disquiet regarding its pesticide policies by announcing its intention to reduce the amount of pesticides used on public land by City agencies. It passed Local Law 37, which provided new requirements for pesticide applicators, posting of warning notices prior to applications, new record keeping provisions, and burdens to be met by city agencies seeking emergency waivers of those stipulations. It also prohibited certain pesticides.
Nevertheless, the Council refused to hear informed testimony on the final version of the bill as to its shortcomings. I was “escorted” out of those hearings in City Hall by two guards when I questioned from the audience the City Council’s failure to consider how easily circumvented, in practice, those safeguards against the granting of waivers would become.
The No Spray Coalition had predicted that the issuing of exemptions to the law would become pro forma.
Pesticide applicator Steve Tvedten, whose essay “Why I Stopped using Pesticide Poisons” appears in that book, was another of those prevented from testifying at that hearing. He’d recently retired from his job as a professional pesticide applicator in Michigan and had written a book on alternative means for safely repelling pests without killing them and without endangering one’s family, and was offering his nontoxic services for free to the City, to no avail. (see https://ThePoliticsofPesticides.com]