Paris and four other French cities on Thursday September 12th have banned the use of synthetic pesticides within their boundaries, as an anti-chemicals movement that began in the countryside gains momentum to safeguard biodiversity and public health, AFP reported.
Lille in the north, Nantes in the west, Grenoble in the southeast, and the central city of Clermont-Ferrand, have joined Paris in implementing the ban, in a move that is mainly symbolic, given that the 2017 law already bans the use of synthetic pesticides in public parks and spaces.
Since January, home gardeners countrywide have also been banned from using synthetic pesticides, except those made with natural ingredients.
The few urban areas not included by the bans include green spaces managed by private property owners, such as in apartment blocks, or by companies such as state rail operator SNCF, which use the controversial weed-killer, glyphosate, on train tracks.
Environment Minister Elisabeth Borne slammed Thursday September 12th’s announcement by the five cities as a "publicity stunt."
The centrist government of President Emmanuel Macron has proposed banning the use of pesticides to within 5-10 metres (15-35 feet) of residential areas, a proposal slammed by environmentalists as not going far enough.
The head of the Greens group in Lille city council, Stephane Baly, said the cities' aim was "to make the government cave in."
The movement began in May 18 in the Brittany village of Langouet, where a mayor banned the use of pesticides within 150 metres of a home or business.
A court later invalidated the ban, ruling that only the state has the power to ban pesticides for public health reasons.
But Mayor Daniel Cueff had by then already won legions of admirers, with villages and towns, from the Normandy town of Val-de-Reuil to the wealthy Paris suburb of Sceaux, following suit.
This move reflects the growing concern among French citizens, particularly in rural areas, over the continued use of the weedkilling chemical, glyphosate, found in herbicides such as Monsanto's Roundup.