This position paper intends to stimulate a profound rethinking of contemporary agricultural practice. We criticise the current intensity of chemical plant protection in Germany as ecologically unsustainable and thus threatening the achievement of key targets of environmental protection and nature conservation policies. In the first part of the paper, we provide background information on the use of plant protection products (PPP) in German agriculture, the role of agricultural policy, European pesticide legislation, the principles of and framework for environmental risk assessment and risk management of PPP, as well as environmental effects of PPP. The second part is presented against the backdrop of the European “Sustainable Use Directive” (2009/128/EC). This directive requires that “Member States shall adopt National Action Plans to set up their quantitative objectives, targets, measures, and timetables to reduce risks and impacts of pesticide use on human health and the environment and to encourage the development and introduction of integrated pest management and of alternative approaches or techniques to reduce dependency on the use of pesticides.” Reflecting on the corresponding debate in Germany, we suggest the following five key principles for a sustainable use of PPP and provide recommendations for their implementation: (1) minimising use; (2) identifying, quantifying, and communicating risks; (3) optimising risk management; (4) compensating for unavoidable effects; (5) internalising external costs.
Environmental Sciences Europe – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 14, 2018
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