A permit is not enough
Public Eye calls for export ban on pesticides
The non-governmental organization Public Eye calls for a complete export ban on pesticides. Despite the tightening of export regulations that have been in force since 2021, Switzerland is still exporting banned pesticides.
Public Eye calls for an export ban on pesticides. (icon picture)
Since January 2021, a permit has been required for the export of around 100 pesticides that are banned in Switzerland. Dozens of dangerous substances that are banned in Switzerland would not be affected by the tightening of the law and would continue to be exported, Public Eye criticized in a statement.
According to Public Eye, around 90 pesticides banned in Switzerland and the EU can be freely exported from Switzerland and remain invisible to authorities and the public. In order to stop this business, a complete export ban and strict enforcement in Switzerland as well as at EU level are needed.
According to the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), active ingredients such as thiamethoxam, diquat, propiconazole and chlorothalonil, which have been banned in Switzerland for more than ten years and are also not approved for use in plant protection products in the EU, may be used by the exporting companies on their own responsibility without an export permit and be exported without an export declaration.
The FOEN does not have any export statistics for pesticides, as stated on request. In principle, according to the authorities, pesticides whose export is not prohibited can be exported from Switzerland in accordance with the provisions of the Chemicals Risk Reduction Ordinance. For the export of pesticides with certain active ingredients, there is either a reporting requirement or an export license requirement.
According to the Public Eye, the Bafu, as the licensing authority, allowed the agrochemical group Syngenta, for example, to export more than 10 tons of triasulfuron-based pesticides in 2021 and 2022. The herbicide produced in Monthey VS was destined for Algeria and Tunisia, where it is used in cereal cultivation.
On Friday evening, the Bafu confirmed on request that in the calendar year 2021, based on the legal provisions, the export of around 10 tons of plant protection products with the active ingredient triasulfuron had been approved. The prerequisite for the export was, among other things, the express consent of the authorities in the importing country to import the plant protection product.