Quantcast

Petition Launched to Halt GMO Production, Pesticide Use in Hawaii

Food

A Maui Citizens Group is asking Hawaiians to sign a petition released on Monday that would give voters the choice of whether or not to temporarily suspend the production of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on Hawaii's second-largest island, reports Reuters.

In a recent poll, 54 percent of Maui County citizens said they favored a temporary moratorium, which would place the burden on GMO crop growers to prove that their practices and pesticides are safe.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The group said its temporary moratorium initiative seeks the crop production suspension until the completion of an environmental and public health impact study, which examines the effects of widespread testing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and associated pesticide use.

The only thing standing in the way of a public GMO vote is the collection of 8,500 signatures by March 31, according to The Garden Island, a newspaper located in Lihue, HI.

The initiative is part of a larger battle gaining momentum in the U.S. and other countries between critics who say GMO crops and the toxic pesticides used on them contribute to health and environmental dangers and those who argue genetically engineering crops are essential to increasing global food production.

In Maui, groundwater is already heavily contaminated with pesticides, said the citizens group, led by Mark Sheehan and Lorrin Pang, in a prepared statement. Hawaiian islands are a popular experimentation and testing ground for biotech crops for many companies due to an ideal year-round climate, he added.

“The Agro-chemical companies have effectively turned Hawaii into their own outdoor laboratory, which they operate with impunity.” said Sheehan. “On Kauai, for example, a documented correlation has been made between rising levels of pesticide application and rising incidences of birth defects. That throws the safety of the entire [genetic engineering] operation into question, which brings the ‘Precautionary Principle’ to bear.”

In a recent poll, 54 percent of Maui County citizens said they favored a temporary moratorium which would place the burden on GMO crop growers like Monsanto to prove that their practices and pesticides are safe, according to Sheehan.

“We were surprised,” said Sheehan to The Garden News. “We were impressed.”

He added the moratorium would force Monsanto and the other companies to halt their practices until they publicly share data and research that scientifically proves what they are doing on Maui is not harmful to the public.

Another Island Battle Brewing

A coalition of residents on the neighboring island of Kauai, and the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Earthjustice, filed papers in U.S. District Court in Honolulu to intervene as defendants in a court case defending a new pesticide disclosure law passed in Kauai, reports Reuters.

DuPont, Syngenta and Agrigenetics Inc., a company affiliated with Dow AgroSciences, and BASF are suing to block the law that limits pesticide and GMO crop use on the island.

The chemical companies argue the Kauai law, approved by island leaders in November, is unconstitutional.

The Kauai bill forces large agricultural companies to fully disclose pesticide use and GMO crop plantings while establishing buffer zones around schools, homes and hospitals.

Visit EcoWatch’s HEALTH and GMO pages for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Coral restoration in Guam. U.S. Pacific Fleet / CC BY-NC 2.0

By Erica Cirino

Visit a coral reef off the coast of Miami or the Maldives and you may see fields of bleached white instead of a burst of colors.

Read More
Cracker Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana. Jacob W. Frank / NPS / Flickr

By Jason Bittel

High up in the mountains of Montana's Glacier National Park, there are two species of insect that only a fly fishermen or entomologist would probably recognize. Known as stoneflies, these aquatic bugs are similar to dragonflies and mayflies in that they spend part of their lives underwater before emerging onto the land, where they transform into winged adults less than a half inch long. However, unlike those other species, stoneflies do their thing only where cold, clean waters flow.

Read More
Sponsored
Augusta National / Getty Images

By Bob Curley

  • The new chicken sandwiches at McDonald's, Popeyes, and Chick-fil-A all contain the MSG flavor enhancement chemical.
  • Experts say MSG can enhance the so-called umami flavor of a food.
  • The ingredient is found in everything from Chinese food and pizza to prepackaged sandwiches and table sauces.

McDonald's wants to get in on the chicken sandwich war currently being waged between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A.

Read More
Protesters march during a "Friday for future" youth demonstration in a street of Davos on Jan. 24 on the sideline of the World Economic Forum annual meeting. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Youth climate activists marched through the streets of Davos, Switzerland Friday as the World Economic Forum wrapped up in a Fridays for Future demonstration underscoring their demand that the global elite act swiftly to tackle the climate emergency.

Read More
chuchart duangdaw / Moment / Getty Images

By Tim Radford

The year is less than four weeks old, but scientists already know that carbon dioxide emissions will continue to head upwards — as they have every year since measurements began leading to a continuation of the Earth's rising heat.

Read More