Germany has become the next country to ban the chemical glyphosate, the key ingredient in the popular weedkiller, Roundup.
Use of glyphosate will be banned in the country from the end of 2023, when the EU’s approval period for it expires. In the meantime, Germany will put into place a phased effort to reduce its use, starting with prohibiting the use of the chemical in domestic gardens and allotments and on the edge of farmers’ fields.
The Cabinet agreed to the ban this week as part of an insect conservation program. “What harms insects also harms people,” said environment minister Svenja Schulze.
“What we need is more humming and buzzing,” added Schulze, stressing that “a world without insects is not worth living in.” Glyphosate has been linked with a decline in pollinating insect species.
Bayer fired back against the ban, maintaining that glyphosate is safe despite experts warning that it can cause cancer in humans. In 2015 the World Health Organization released a report concluding that glyphosate probably causes cancer.
Germany’s ban comes shortly after a bill was passed in Austria banning the weedkiller in July. Last month 20 French mayors decided to ban it from their municipalities.
In 2017 the European Parliament approved a resolution to ban glyphosate’s use by 2022, but after extreme backlash from the industry, the EU Commission voted to extend the glyphosate license for another five years. Despite the extension, many countries that disagreed with it have made progress in phasing out the chemical’s use.