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Is the Victorian Logging Industry to blame for our water contamination?

Updated: Jun 27

Environmental sustainability and agricultural safety have become significant areas of concern in recent years, especially when we probe the impact of the Victorian Logging Industry. The Industry is currently in a "dismantling phase," but there is still significant activity.


The significance of this matter was brought to light in 2022 by Andrew Meseha, the CEO of Happy Soils and Urban Green Farms, who raised awareness about the risks associated with water contamination and soil degradation. This blog explores a recent Gippsland region alert emphasising these issues' seriousness. This troubling concern has been previously addressed https://www.gippslandtimes.com.au/news/2020/12/14/call-for-pfas-probe/


Background


In 2022, Colin Brown, an intergenerational farmer based in the Moondarra Corridor off Brown Rd in the Gippsland region, received alarming news. Hancock Victorian Plantations (HVP) informed him that they planned to conduct aerial spraying of a highly toxic herbicide called Grunt 750 near his organic beef farm. This herbicide contains Hexazinone, a potent chemical known for its detrimental environmental impacts.




The Concerns


Colin Brown's immediate concern was the potential damage to local waterways, animal life, and crops. The application method—via aerial spraying—posed a significant risk due to the possibility of chemical drift, which could affect adjacent areas not intended for treatment. Such practices' ecological and environmental impact is substantial, especially given the active ingredient's potential to contaminate water sources and degrade soil quality.


Community and Official Response


Upon receiving the notification, Colin Brown took swift action. He contacted the local council, the Latrobe Valley Authority, and other stakeholders to voice his concerns. After extensive communication, it was confirmed that aerial spraying would not occur on this plantation. However, HVP later conducted the herbicide application using a boom spray method, which still raised severe concerns about its environmental impact.


The Warning from Andrew Meseha


Andrew Meseha's warning in 2022 about water contamination and soil degradation is particularly relevant in this context. As the CEO of Happy Soils and Urban Green Farms, Meseha has been a vocal advocate for sustainable farming practices and environmental protection. His concerns about the long-term impacts of such chemical use on soil health and water quality resonate strongly with the issues Colin Brown and other regional farmers face.



The unintended consequences of logging practices have massive ramifications on our ecology, environmental assets, and precious water. The usage of such toxic chemicals in such close proximity to our farms and primary water catchments has now get urban Victorians. It is so predictable, yet our local and government departments seem disconnected from reality.




The Role of the Great Forest National Park (GFNP)


Creating the Great Forest National Park (GFNP) is essential in addressing these environmental challenges. The GFNP would serve as a crucial protector of our waterways, ensuring that the natural landscapes that filter and supply clean water to millions of Victorians remain intact. By preserving vast tracts of forest, the GFNP would mitigate the risks posed by industrial activities such as logging and herbicide spraying, which threaten water quality and soil health.


Forests play a vital role in maintaining the hydrological cycle. They act as natural water filters, trapping pollutants and sediments before they can enter waterways. The GFNP would safeguard these essential ecological functions, providing a buffer against contamination and ensuring that our water resources remain pure and safe for future generations.


The Broader Implications


This case is not an isolated incident but part of a larger pattern of environmental challenges posed by modern agricultural practices. The use of toxic herbicides and the potential for contamination highlight the need for stricter regulations and more sustainable farming methods. It also underscores the importance of community vigilance and advocacy in protecting local ecosystems.


Conclusion


The case of Colin Brown and HVP's use of Grunt 750 herbicide is a stark reminder of the ongoing battle between industrial agricultural practices and environmental sustainability.


It highlights the critical need for awareness, regulation, and proactive measures to safeguard our natural resources. As Andrew Meseha warned, the consequences of neglecting soil health and water quality are far-reaching and demand immediate attention and action.


Hopefully, shedding light on these issues will drive change towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly farming practices. Let's work together to ensure a healthier future for our communities and the planet.






2 Comments


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