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Scarborough, Maine Looking To Limit Pesticide Use

Last week town councilors in Scarborough, Maine, breathed a sigh of relief. After months of work, the Ordinance Committee has a policy that will restrict use of pesticides on municipal property.

In an article written for the Scarborough Leader, Karen D’Andrea, Town Councilor and co-author of the policy, says, “It’s a public health issue,” D’Andrea said. “We know that many pesticides can cause things like cancers and that it mostly affects the young and old with frail bodies. When it comes down to it, what’s more important, family and friends, or a few dandelions in our front yards?”

D’Andrea says that the biggest hurdle to going organic is changing the public’s perception of what a lawn should look like. After much research into organic lawn care, she understands that sterile, lush carpet lawns are not the way nature intended. They provide no bio-diversity, and eventually require constant applications of chemicals as a form of life-support.

“We really need to shift our thinking about what a beautiful lawn is,” D’Andrea said. “I look at my lawn, and there are plenty of dandelions. I think it makes a yard look more interesting. Our yards are not golf courses and I think a few dandelions make it look just fine.”

Many residents seem to agree. In the senior community of Magnolia Place, located within the watershed of marshland, members have taken steps to transition to complete organic lawn care. Citing concerns for the local environment, as well as for their grandchildren, the residents look forward to the changes.

The new town policy will be voted upon by fellow councilors next month. Tom Hall, Town Manager and another co-author of the policy, says, “I have no doubt this is the direction of the future,” Hall said. “Organic products have made great strides in terms of effectiveness.”

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