Sunday, October 10, 2010


This week saw the removal of more children and the resignation of another two teachers following unlawful spraying of pesticides on Nitida Wine Farm. 

Perhaps the schools owners will now see the light and agree to move the school to a safer location ?


  1. Bravo Jurgen,well said!We are proud of you and the good work you do,for free!

  2. Hi, I want to put my child in Fisantekraal pre-primary next year - on Koeberg road leading out of Durbanville - it is amongst vineyards - I guess it will have the same problems - is it possible to investigate this?

  3. We seem to recall that one of our members sent their daughter to a school close to Fisantekraal - not sure if it is the same school - but the child developed ovarian cancer when she was in late teens / early twenties.

    So best not to put your child in a school close to vineyards or wheat / canola fields. There is a new story in The Green Times, in which Dr Muir advises against schools on or near farms.

    Spray drift is a reality, given the method of spraying : centrifugal mist blowers that discharge high volumes of pesticide over a wid area, creating clouds of toxic spray drift that can be blown on the wind for several hundred Metres, if not further. There is no denying the fact that spray drift into residential areasdoes occur and that should this happen it constitutes unlawful spraying.

    There is also no disputing the fact that many of the products sprayed on vines are toxic - their Product Labels specifically mention the side effects of exposure to these products.

    Whilst we have not seen how close the Fisantekraal pre-primary is to the vineyards, it it is set amongst , adjacent or close to the vineyards, then this is reason to be concerned. Chilren and much more prone to the effects of spray drift and exposure to agricultural chemicals - this has been well documented. (read up about this on the Galileo Group )

    Children eat more ofte, they have faster metabolisms, thinner skins, they spend more time outoors and more than often put their fingers in their mouth. They are thus more at risk to pick up toxins that adults.

  4. From the stuff published on this blog it is best not to put your kid in any school in Paarl/Stellenbosch/Durbanville/Riebeeck West/Robertson or where ever it is in close proximity to any fruit farming. But then whereto? Many people sending their kids to these schools, also live next to vineyards. So should they shut down the schools or vacate the Western Cape and Klein Karoo and all other fruit growing areas of residents? Or ban spraying all together? Where will we then get our food. Granted we can do without wine, but what about our fruit? It is not sustainable to switch all farming to organic farming. There just is not enough resources in the world....but it is a nice marketing angle though....and a nice way to add a premium to your products......

  5. TATIB are not pushing to ban all spraying. When we say "spraying" we are referring to the current "norm" which is centrifugal "mistblowers". Anyone who has seen one of these machines in use will see just how wasteful it is - over 60% of the pesticide gets blown skyward and this creates large clouds of toxic spray drift.

    What we are attempting to do, is to raise public awareness of the dangers posed by "spray drift" and to put pressure on the government authorities to tighten up their legislation and enforcement.

    Spray drift into residential areas (ie areas not under treatment) is unlawful.

    The National Dept of Agriculture has recently released a "Pesticide Management Policy" as it has realised that the present Act 36 of 1947 has many shortcomings. We have posted a link to this new policy within the recent post re Stellenbosch Municipality.

    Yes, it is best not to put ones children in a school that is located in a spray drift area. A lot of research has been done on the side effects of the products used, and many of them are endocrine disruptors and reproductive / developmental toxins and as such very dangerous for developing children and teenagers. There is no disputing this fact.

    The problem is that many residential areas, particularly in the Western Cape, are nestled amongst the wine growing areas - Paarl, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek - and that because of this close proximity, and the method of spraying, spray drift now gets blown into the residential areas. 50 years ago there were no centrifugal mist blowers - spraying was done by hand, using knapsack sprayers. Todays modern technology is the problem. Whilst these mistblowers certainly do their job well, they are not designed to be used in close proximity to a residential area. The smiling gifsmous and the large agro chemical companies are happy as more product gets used (and wasted ) and they are thus ensured of more profits. And because of this, things will not change.

  6. continued ......

    Many people specifically purchase property next to a vineyard , for the beauty and the romantic notion of living next to a vineyard. Expensive private schools, located on farms, nestled amongst the vineyards were seen as a healthy environment to educate ones children. The fact remains that if these areas and schools are subjected to toxic spray drift, then these are very unhealthy environments in which to live and work. Recently Leukaemia has been positively linked to exposure to pesticides. Would you run the risk of exposing your kids to spray drift that may, 10 years down the line, give them leukaemia?

    Its not practical to vacate residential areas & schools that are in close proximity to vineyards and or orchards. What is possible is to change the method of spraying so as to reduce the risk of creating spray drift. For example increasing the droplet size, changing to the more modern machines that create less spray drift, spraying using knapsack sprayers, implementing buffer zones, and using less toxic chemicals.

    The gifsmouse and agro chemical giants seem convinced that without chemical intervention there will be no crops, and that there will be a shortage of food, and this is what they are punting at the moment in order to justify their continued use of toxic pesticides. The experts whom we have consulted with, all believe that productivity & yield actually increases once the ecosystem of a vineyard / orchard is returned to a healthy state and that production can be sustained without chemical intervention.

    On Carte Blanche, a couple of years ago, an admission was made by a qualified expert, that over 90% of the spraying (of fruit) was for cosmetic reasons. That people like to buy the perfect looking fruit and that in order to keep it looking perfect, it has to be sprayed with a cocktail of pesticides.

    We are poisoning our earth – we all know that. A couple of years ago, the pineapple industry of the Eastern Cape was just about destroyed due to cobalt contaminated fertilizer that had been imported from China. The soil in the area was also contaminated and it costs millions to try and clean up the area. We cannot sustain this kind of practice much longer – we cannot keep on poisoning our planet. There are enough resources but if we poison them then yes, they will run out.

    All that we can do is to try make more people aware of the dangers and hopefully that way the authorities will do something about it, before it is too late.

    So please, spread the word of this worthy cause

  7. Thank you for opening my eyes Jurgen!