During an investigation of 113 horticultural companies thirty illegal crop protection products were found in the surrounding bodies of water. Both legal and illegal crop protection products can be traced back to the horticultural companies, as is shown by the investigation conducted in the Danish town of Odense.

The horticultural companies are not capable enough to protect the nature against the crop protection products they are using. The pollution comes from the watering systems and the storage of plant remains. This is one of the conclusions of a new inspection report of the Odense township, which is based on the information of 113 horticultural companies in Odense and its surrounding area.

At 111 more horticultural companies, measurements of the fertilizers and crop protection products the companies discharge in the surrounding waters will be taken. “We have discovered that it is more difficult to deal with the problem than one would originally think. It is not a simple matter of diverting some pipes. Companies will need to adjust the watering systems in a way that no water will be discharged in the surrounding area. And contaminated plant remains will need to be stored in a different way,” says Knud Søndergaard of the Agriculture & Nature sector in the city council of Odense.

Far above the limit value
Almost half of all of the Danish horticultural companies is based in, or around, Odense. Out of all the substances found in the waters around Odense, there are thirty that are prohibited in Denmark and in the EU. One of these substances is the insect repellent known as Dichlorvos which, according to the report, can be found in an amount that is 30,000 higher than the limit value decided by the EU. This has been the case since December 2018.

Illegal substances are possibly originating from imported plants
Jørgen K. Andersen of the interest group Dansk Gartneri explains that, from new investigations, it was proven that the water from, for instance, plants originating from China, was polluted. So it appears that it is possible that the pollution is due to imported plants. “That is why the growers have decided to hold the suppliers to a higher standard in this regard,” he adds. The fact that the polluting has been going on for a longer time already is something he does not deny. “Many horticultural companies have been around for ten or fifty years already. It takes time to solve all of the problems.”

The township of Odense expects it to take a long time before the waters will be entirely clean again. “We will convene with the Environmental Council and will also talk with the horticultural companies. We have already started doing this, but it takes a lot of time, so in the upcoming years we will have to deal with the problems little by little,” is what Knud Søndergaard believes. First of all, the township has taken a couple of countermeasures that are, among others, based on the experiences in the Netherlands, like:

1. Pre-treatment of the discharge water before it gets discharged.
2. Stimulate the full reusing of discharge water.
3. After discussing with the Environmental council setting limits to the use of relevant crop protection products.

Source: www.dr.dk