Bristol’s Pesticide Amnesty and the UN Biodiversity Conference

Today’s guest blog is from Savita Willmott, CEO of the Natural History Consortium

The UK is preparing to welcome the world to Glasgow on 31 October for COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference.  There are no shortage of lead-up events in Bristol, and across the UK, as organisations prepare to influence the significant discussions.  

Last week, a different group of leaders participated in the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15). Covid has affected many international meetings and events, and this one is no different. The decision was taken to have the initial conversations online then bring international leaders together in Kunming next spring. The summary from the online meeting indicates commitment from countries around the world to spend the next few months negotiating a significant framework to be agreed in May.  

It is now widely understood and agreed that our net zero and nature positive ambitions are, and must be, linked. In Bristol, our One City Climate Strategy and One City Ecological Emergency Strategy must be addressed together as we tackle our city’s environmental emergencies.  

As we keep our eye on the international declarations and agreements, we must focus on taking action locally. One of the four targets of the One City Ecological Emergency Strategy is to reduce the city’s pesticide use by 50% by 2030. To help everyone get started,  The Natural History Consortium is running the UK’s first household Pesticide Amnesty on October 23rd and 24th,. Collections will be at Redcatch Park on October 23rd between 11am and 3pm, and at Blaise Nursery on October 24th between 11am and 3pm. Residents of Bristol are encouraged to have a ‘garden shed’ clear out at the end of the growing season and bring along garden and household pesticides in return for a free pack of wildflower seeds and information on pesticide-free alternatives.  

After the events, all containers will be safely disposed by Bristol Waste, and a log of everything handed in will be used for a major citizen science project in partnership with University of Bristol School of Chemistry.  The university will be supporting a final year student to develop a new experiment for future students to examine soil samples across the city, to monitoring change over time focusing on the most popular chemicals from the pesticide amnesty. 

Join us – and take action for nature!