Germany will ban the use of the controversial herbicide, Glyphosate, at the end of 2023, the German Government said on Wednesday.
The announcement was made as part of an announcement presenting a series of measures to protect insects and animals.
The ban on the herbicide, produced by the U.S. transnational Monsanto, will take effect on 31 December 2023, when its current authorisation issued by the European Union expires.
Without waiting for 2023, Germany plans to impose certain limitations on the use of the product from next year, prohibiting it in private parks and gardens, and initiating the first restrictions on its use in farming.
In Germany, biologists have been sounding the alarm on the steep drop in insect populations due in part to herbicides, which is disturbing ecosystems, particularly the pollination of plants.
In addition to its negative effects on insects, glyphosate has become a societal issue following its rating in May 2015 as a probable source of cancer by the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. It has also given rise to thousands of lawsuits in the United States against Monsanto and the German chemical giant Bayer.
“Things that harm insects also harm humans,” Germany’s Social-Democratic Environment Minister Svenja Schulze noted on Wednesday at a press conference. “What we need is to hear buzzing, more and more buzzing.
Glyphosate and the green light given for its use by the EU in 2017 created frictions within Angela Merkel’s coalition between conservatives backing its use and social democrats, who are against it. The ban has been badly received by the German chemical industry association, VCI, which is the umbrella for the sector’s businesses.
“For our businesses, this decision means a massive loss of planning capacity,” the VCI reacted in a press release. “Industry needs to be able to rely on a reliable legal network.”
In addition to protecting insects, the German Government presented a body of measures in favour of animal wellbeing and customer information, such as new labelling that will enable pork buyers to know the conditions in which the pigs were raised.