Infrabel sprays some 2.8 tons of herbicide annually along railroad tracks, the Dernière Heure writesMonday. Belgium’s railway network management is looking for an alternative to the product, which is made of glyphosate.
Weeding the tracks is a security imperative for the company. Vegetation can retain water and distort the tracks; and paths along the tracks must facilitate the evacuation of passengers when necessary.
“Weeder’’ trains then go by in the spring for the spraying of a glyphosate-based solution, a product being accused of causing cancer. There is still no alternative large-scale technology for the rail sector that would completely eliminate the use of herbicides, Infrabel says.
The company actively participates in several international working groups to promote the sharing of experience. Pilot projects have also been set up: manual maintenance, the placing of geotextile, or asphalting, to replace the use of the herbicide at issue.
Each year, 2.8 tons of herbicides are being sprayed along the tracks, at a cost of 3 million euros per year.