One of Wales’ cherished gardening experts, Terry Walton, is encouraging people throughout Wales to reduce their reliance on weedkillers and other pesticides to help protect the environment.
With gardening season due to start, the renowned gardener and grower has teamed up with Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s PestSmart project to call on fellow green-fingered enthusiasts to make the ‘PestSmart Pledge’ by introducing simple changes to their gardening habits in a bid to prevent pesticides from entering Wales’ rivers and streams.
Adopting organic and natural methods of gardening from the early stages of his career, Terry has explained that the PestSmart Pledge is a direct ask to gardeners in Wales to take a more conscious approach to gardening by using natural approaches to tackling weeds and pests in the garden that don’t rely on weedkillers, slug pellets and other pesticides.
Natural approaches to pest control include companion planting, where specific plants are grown together to deter pests and attract predators; creating wild corners of the garden to encourage natural predators; and homemade vinegar sprays which dry out weeds.
Terry has shared his approach to organic gardening on the PestSmart website, which Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water launched as a go-to hub of information and resources for the safe use, storage and disposal of pesticides.
A regular on BBC Radio 2 and ITV’s This Morning offering advice to gardeners, PestSmart ambassador Terry said: “As consumers, we have such easy access to pesticides and herbicides with chemical ingredients which can be bought from garden centres, supermarkets and even online, without understanding the true extent of the impact they could have on the environment. When applied incorrectly in our gardens, they have the potential to enter watercourses and harm people, water and wildlife.
“The reality is that there are many equally as effective approaches to tackling weeds and other pests naturally, and by following the advice on the PestSmart website and taking the PestSmart Pledge, gardeners across Wales can make a contribution to protecting the environment and the eco-system in their gardens.”
The call out to gardeners across Wales comes as Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s routine water monitoring programme has detected increasing traces of pesticides in some areas across Wales. While these levels are too low to pose a risk to tap water, they’re enough to mean the water needs more treatment to meet rigorous drinking water standards.
Phillippa Pearson, Head of Water Services Science at Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water said: “We know that pesticides can form an essential and everyday role. However, if stored, used or disposed of incorrectly, they can be harmful to people, water and wildlife.
“By safeguarding and improving raw water quality before it gets to our water treatment works, we can avoid using additional chemicals and energy to get your drinking water perfect. Working together to reduce our reliance on pesticides by making straightforward and eco-friendly swaps in the garden can help us to keep bills low while safeguarding and protecting the environment for generations to come.”
For more information, go to www.PestSmart.wales