Friday, September 01, 2006

Update on public mosquito spray information

On August 31, 2006, Jennifer Miller,Idaho's representative of the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, wrote an op-ed to the Idaho Statesman titled: "After spraying, questions of safety, efficacy, alternatives remain."

The same day the Statesman also published an article titled: "Officials: Spraying killed 90-95% of mosquitoes."

Ms. Miller noted that "The Abatement District's mosquito monitoring results indicated levels were already dropping, raising questions about the need for the scale of action."

She also cited two additional issues.

"• Inconsistent recommendations from local and state officials on how to protect ourselves from the spray."

"• Lack of public participation for a program that would subject thousands of residents to involuntary pesticide exposure."

This last issue brings up the question of how the public can become more involved in government action plans, before they are implemented. Is it the government's responsibility to provide well publicized opportunities for input on issues related to health welfare and safety? Or is it the responsibility of each citizen, or groups of citizens to watchdog issues of concern and alert their friends and neighbors or the whole community in time for meaningful public dialogue?

I believe that both the government and citizens must become much more proactive in understanding and developing new ways to involve the public in the decision making process. The Internet and new Social Networking tools are available to help with this process, but we all have to learn how to use these tools more efficiently before they can make a difference in our personal lives and in the local, regional and global communities we belong to.

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