Dec. 20, 2017 By Nathaly Pesantez
A bill authored by Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) requiring parks to be wiped down after pesticides are sprayed passed City Council yesterday.
The bill, known as Intro 1466, mandates that the Department of Parks and Recreation clean playground equipment in city parks within 24 hours after pesticides have been sprayed by any city agency.
The bill also requires that the Parks Department and the Department of Health come up with a rule on the minimum distance a pesticide spraying can take place from a city park. If a spraying occurs within the minimum distance, the parks department would be required to clean the park.
In testimony delivered on Dec. 5, Matt Drury, director of government relations for the Parks department, said Van Bramer’s bill was “unnecessary”, as it already reflects current practices of the agency.
“We rarely apply herbicides in horticulture beds in parks, and we never apply herbicides in playgrounds, athletic fields or dog runs,” Drury said.
Drury added that the department does not broadly apply the pesticide, and focuses on directly targeting the weed with as little herbicide as possible when application is required in a park or playground.
The Parks department also provides on-site notices 24 hours before a herbicide application is completed, and for 72 hours following an application, he said.
But the impetus for Van Bramer’s bill, introduced in February, goes against the Parks department’s testimony.
“I fought for this legislation after several constituents came to me complaining about sludge left over from pesticide spraying at multiple playgrounds in my district,” Van Bramer said in a statement. “Cleaning our city’s playgrounds after the application of pesticides is a commonsense policy that will protect public health and quality of life for children and families throughout New York City.”
The bill passed City Council on Dec. 19 with 50 votes.