Two environmental groups have launched a campaign to bring forward an international ban of the ozone-depleting pesticide, methyl bromide. Friends of the Earth offices in Italy, the USA and Australia and the global Pesticide Action Network have urged members to write to their governments demanding that a tough line be taken against methyl bromide at a forthcoming international meeting in Montreal, Canada. Parties to the UN Montreal Protocol are due to agree tighter controls on a range of ozone-depleting chemicals. The EU has agreed to press for a halving of methyl bromide consumption in industrialised countries by 2001 and phase-out by 2005, but with exemptions for "critical uses" (ENDS Daily 20 June ). This is tighter than the current 2010 phase-out deadline in the Montreal Protocol. Nevertheless, Italy, the largest European user of methyl bromide, is expected to lobby against an earlier phase-out in Montreal. The USA supports phase-out by 2001, but with wide exemptions. Australia has not supported an earlier phase-out. Environmentalists want industrialised countries to phase out major uses of methyl bromide by 1999, and to ban it altogether by 2001.
Pesticide Action Network North America; Friends of the Earth Italy, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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