Revision of the Plant Protection Products Ordinance: Eawag says yes, but

Eawag and the Ecotox Centre welcome a total revision of the Plant Protection Products Ordinance (PPPO). However, the two institutes are calling for improvements on important points, such as the adoption of EU authorisations or the precautionary principle. The ordinance must ensure that other regulations such as the Water Protection or the Environmental Protection Act are not undermined.
Pesticide use in viticulture. (Photo: Adobe Stock, edu licenced)

In a jointly submitted statement to the federal government, Eawag and the Ecotox Centre welcome the planned total revision of the Plant Protection Products Ordinance (PPPO). A convergence with EU regulations could be useful in terms of reducing administrative hurdles. However, Switzerland must continue to have the sovereignty and obligation to react independently to new findings. The two institutes write that it must be ensured that the products authorised in Switzerland always meet the level of protection required according to the current state of knowledge. Decisions made elsewhere under different conditions and based on possibly outdated scientific findings should not be relied upon alone. This applies to new authorisations and, in particular, to re-authorisations of plant protection products.

Do not abolish the precautionary principle

According to the consultation response, preventive measures are central to sustainable environmental protection. These should ensure that potentially harmful active substances and products are not released into the environment in the first place. For this reason, the precautionary principle previously enshrined in the PPPO should not be cancelled under any circumstances. This would ensure that the agricultural sector is provided with PPPs that are safe for humans and the environment according to the latest findings.

Make environmental monitoring mandatory

Both institutes are also in favour of environmental monitoring that records the effects of newly authorised PPPs on humans, drinking water and the environment. Such monitoring must also apply to substances that are to be re-authorised following a ban.