Environmentalists are against the decision of Australia's chemical regulator to continue the use of Diuron. WWF (World Wildlife Fund) declared the toxic pesticide could destroy the Great Barrier Reef and put the health of residents at risk if not completely banned.
WWF spokesperson Nick Heath affirmed the pesticide is so toxic that the use of one gram in four Olympic-sized swimming pools could already damage the sea grass.
Diuron is used to manage the agricultural weeds and algae near the creeks, rivers and waterways. In a released statement, Nick Heath expressed the disappointment on continued Diuron use.
"The APVMA has again failed to protect the Great Barrier Reef. We call on the minister and the prime minister to intervene and give the APVMA stronger powers and an obligation to ban these dangerous chemicals," Heath said.
The APVMA (Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority) approved the continued use of most Diuron products with little restrictions on sugarcane and pineapple crops.
"The Great Barrier Reef would have to be one of the most loved parts of Australia. Yet the Government has put the reef to the sword by allowing the continued use of a highly toxic, highly long-lived pesticide called Diuron, due to industry lobbying in the last few months from cane growers and the pesticide industry," Heath stated.
"It's a shame, it's an embarrassment, it's the wrong decision and the decision will be proven wrong, wrong and wrong. Every year we are finding it 60 kilometers from shore in concentrations harmful to coral. We are finding it in the creeks at 55 times the safe level. Diuron is incredibly toxic," Heath further added.
Meanwhile, Steve Greenwood, Chief Executive Officer of Canegrowers Queensland, said the APVMA's approval on limited Diuron use is bad news for sugar producers.
"The decision on Diuron has disappointed the cane growing industry. We are now limited in using the product at times of the year when we need to use it the most in those growing months where weeds are prevalent in our industry. We will see a significant economic impact on our industry because we want be able to use this chemical. The impact on weeds on our crop will be significant," Greenwood said.