SIR – There is an increasing number of West Cork inhabitants who are increasingly concerned at the continuing use of herbicides in the area.
While the desire to maintain a tidy appearance and to keep some plant growth within limits is understandable, the use of herbicides, at a time when we know what we do about their health effects, is not.
The view they leave behind is ugly. There are safer ways to do the same job.
We should all be doing our bit to pull back from the brink of ecological destruction, refraining from using these chemicals is one simple way to contribute to this.
It has been proven that herbicide use is damaging not only to the health of children and adults but also to all forms of insect, mammal, fish and plant life, most notably important pollinators like bees.
Residues can run off to pollute streams, rivers, lakes and drinking water and traces have been found in many many food and drink products. There have been several high-profile court cases where damages have been awarded in favour of people for health damage suffered as a result of glyphosate use.
It would be in no one's interest were a costly lawsuit of this nature to be launched in West Cork. How much better for us all to take the initiative and adopt an approach that preserves and enhances ecosystem and human health and removes one obvious risk from our habitat?
We need to see an end to the spraying of herbicides in West Cork and the widespread adoption of practices that can remedy ecological damage such as appropriate tree planting and rewilding. This would be far more in keeping with the green image that Ireland seeks to portray to the world and would prove to be far more economical through savings in health care and gains in our area's attractiveness to tourists.
There is a noticeable lack of consistency on environmental issues at present with gains made in one or two areas being lost in others as we try to get the best of the two worlds of everlasting economic growth and environmental sustainability.
The two paths are incompatible. We must radically alter our system of values.
At the end of the day planetary health is the only real bottom line. We cannot have a healthy culture or economy in an unhealthy environment and anyone who thinks we can is dangerously deluded.