The Environmental Pillar which represents 28 national independent environmental non-governmental organisations is demanding that Coillte stop using the pesticide Cypermethrin in Irish forests. The pesticide Cypermethrin is designed to protect non-native spruce and pine trees from weevil attacks. Coillte has used it to pre-treat plants in the controlled environment of nurseries since early 2007 and to dip young plants. The chemical is also sprayed on the land in an effort to control the impact of the pine weevil. Coillte has used Cypermethrin operationally since 2007 and over that period has applied over 100,000 litres of the chemical. The company Coillte plans to continue to use this chemical for the next five years.
Cypermethrin is a fast acting neurotoxin in insects. As it is a pesticide, it kills beneficial insects and animals (like birds, bees and fish) as well as the targeted ones. The Environment Pillar says that this has a major adverse impact on our biodiversity as using this pesticide in our forests furthers the pressures on pollinators like bees to survive. The group says that the survival of these pollinators is vital for the continuation of our food production. The US EPA has also classified Cypermethrin as a group C carcinogen, so not only are we harming the environment by using this chemical, we could also be directly harming ourselves. The Environmental Pillar representatives say that Coillte should change over to a natural forest model in which mainly native tree species are grown. The successful growing of native trees is not dependent on the application of hazardous chemicals like Cypermethrin.