Council and Roundup on road verges

Dear Beagle Editor, Can you please advise me what I should do about stopping Council from using Roundup on the kerbs to control grass. I have noticed in many areas a tractor with a blade that cuts the grass along the footpath edges and often see crews out with whippersnippers preparing the edges prior to the mower coming through but use of Roundup (which must be expensive) along our kerbs that lead directly to our waterways is very worrying. cheers {name and address supplied} Dear G, Council advised, in 2016, that: Glyphosate is the active constituent of many branded weed control products including Roundup and Zero. Formulations of glyphosate based products can be found in 360, 450, 480, 500 and 540 gram per litre increments. Most of these products and formulations are easily accessible to the public at any supermarket, rural or hardware store. Council uses Roundup Biactive 360 g/ltr (does not contain a surfactant and thus is ‘frog friendly’) in various situations as a registered control method for various plants including but not limited to, Lantana, Bitou Bush, grasses including African Love Grass, Serrated Tussock and Kikuyu and the noxious aquatic weed, Salvinia molesta. Roundup Biactive 360 is registered for use in and around waterways as it is non mobile in the soil profile as it quickly binds to aluminium and iron particles. It has a half-life of around 47 days and has low toxicity. It is broken down into various natural components including carbon monoxide and dioxide and nitrogen and phosphorous oxides. Glyphosate based products are termed ‘non specific’ with regards to their applicability for weed control; that is, it will likely have detrimental effects to any plants (note it does not kill everything) it comes into contact with. As such, Council are very cautious in our use of this product as off target damage to surrounding plants is a serious consideration, however glyphosate provides most land managers with a reasonably safe and very effective weed control option for many difficult to treat areas such as rights of way and road verges. Of course, it is imperative that anyone using herbicides of any type must wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), adhere to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and product label, and ensure that application is conducted in such a way that avoids and minimises off target damage to surrounding vegetation and exposure to people and animals. Council’s pesticide use notification plan is based on requirements under the Pesticides Regulation 2009. Typically, in high use public areas Council erects signage and notifies via various forms of media including radio and print mediums. Visual signage also notifies the public of the type of works in progress. As per the plan, wet application herbicides are typically dry on the plant within 15 minutes, often half that time in sunny conditions, thus precluding the erection of specific signage – this is where vehicle based signage only is used, which satisfies our obligations under the regulation. With regards to the WHO listing, it is worth noting that glyphosate has been added to the same list as many other potential carcinogens including red meat and wood smoke. Certainly, minimising dermal and respiratory exposure to any chemical is a good thing to practice.