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EU bans pesticides linked to dwindling bee population

While most people consider bees to be pesky nuisances, others are deathly afraid because a sting can be deadly to them, however bees play an important part in the world economy as they contribute to agriculture with their pollination and in order to stop bee populations from further declining, the EU has voted to ban a pesticide.

Fifteen of the twenty seven European Union member states voted to restrict one of the world's most widely used insecticides, neonicotinoids, which have been linked to the huge decline in the population of honey bees around the world.

Despite numerous scientific studies having found links between the pesticides and the dwindling bee population, and the European Food Safety Authority saying that the pesticides did pose a unacceptable risk to bees' health, the UK continues to oppose the decision arguing that the impact of nicotinoids on bees is unclear.

The ban will be in effect for two years unless scientific evidence to the contrary becomes available, and it will restrict the use of the three most common nicotinoids, imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, on crops that bees are more attracted to, like sunflowers, oilseed rape, cotton and maize.

“I pledge to do my utmost to ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over €22bn annually to European agriculture, are protected,” said Tonio Borg of the European Commission.

Obviously the two companies that manufacture these pesticides, German giant Bayer CropScience and Syngenta, a Swiss biochemical company have been lobbying against the ban.

“The proposal is based on poor science and ignores a wealth of evidence from the field that these pesticides do not damage the health of bees. Instead of banning these products, the commission should now take the opportunity to address the real reasons for bee health decline: Disease, viruses and loss of habitat and nutrition," said Syngenta's chief operating officer, John Atkin.

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