Three Hawaiian islands may be limiting companies who grow GMO crops.
Hawaii is becoming kind of a hotbed for GMO regulation right now! The Kauai County Council recently overrode the mayor’s veto, which passed a bill limiting the use of pesticides near schools, hospitals, waterways, public roadways, etc. The vast majority of these pesticides were being sprayed on GMO crops, so the bill in effect limits where companies like Dow Chemical can grow GMOs.
Two other island: Hawaii and Maui may soon follow suit.
Maui County Councilwoman Elle Cochran introduced a bill that would force biotech companies to disclose where they were planting GMO crops and spraying related pesticides. The Maui bill is based on the one that just passed in Kauai, so if it passes we can expect to see limits on GMO crops on Maui.
Hawaii passed an even stronger bill earlier this month that actually limits companies from planting any new GMO crops. The Hawaii bill excludes GMO papaya, though, so companies can still plant that without approval. Mayor Billy Kenoi said:
This ordinance expresses the desires and demands of our community for a safe, sustainable agricultural sector that can help feed our people while keeping our precious island productive and healthy.
It’s not news that – over time – biotech crops lead to increased use of pesticides. Yes, at first farmers can sometimes use fewer pesticides, but as local weeds build resistance, GMO crops need more and more pesticides to keep weeds at bay. On small islands like Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii, these pesticides concentrate more quickly in the ecosystem, contaminating water and causing health problems for residents.
Image Credit: Hawaiian Islands Map via Shutterstock