Home > News > Pesticides, the winning battle of Mals

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By Manlio Masucci, Navdanya International – l’Extraterrestre, il manifesto, 25 April 2019 | Fonte

The news is about what could mark the history of the use of pesticides: the mayor of Mals Venosta, Ulrich Veith, was acquitted by the Court of Auditors, which had initially asked for compensation of 24 thousand euros for the organization of a referendum on pesticides in 2014. An important change because the legal action seemed not only to overturn the democratic will of the people of Mals, who had clearly expressed its opposition to the use of pesticides within the municipality, but also to discourage other administrations to take similar action.

The story is well known. In 2014, the municipality of Mals held a public referendum on pesticides, given the high impact of intensive monoculture of apples on the territory. More than 70% of those entitled went to the polls and decided, with a majority of 76%, to ban pesticides from the municipality. Since then, there has been an unresolved war against the small town of Val Venosta with 5,000 inhabitants, guilty of having created a particularly dangerous precedent. From the result of the referendum to the resolution, the step is short. The Regulation on the use of plant protection products in the municipality of Mals was approved in March 2016 but the Tar immediately blocked its implementation. The promotion of organic farming, the ban on the use of those pesticides which are considered very toxic under the Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council, increased safety distances for other pesticides, the promotion of organic food in restaurants and canteens of the municipality and other local services, the gradual transition marked over several years not to harm businesses: these are the most dangerous and revolutionary provisions containted in the regulation that therefore needed to be blocked.

But blocking the regulation was not enough. The mayor had to receive a lesson that serves as a warning to all those who intend to consult the “subversive” will of their citizens. The Court of Auditors is therefore asking for the reimbursement of the costs of a referendum considered illegal. As we have just learned, this request has not been successful. Mals can now lead a national and international movement that claims the rights of subsidiarity and precaution, the rights to live in a healthy environment, as laid down in Article 32 of the Italian Constitution. This is the opinion of the president of Navdanya International, Vandana Shiva, who recently visited he village: “I wish there were many Mals in the world – said the president of Navdanya International – because Mals is not only fighting for itself but represents an important pioneering experience for the whole world.

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