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Fewer gardeners rely on pesticides: StatsCan

CBC News - Sept. 26, 2007

Pesticide use is declining but gas-powered mowers remain a mainstay for many homeowners, according to a Statistics Canada study released Wednesday.

The gardening industry has come into full bloom, growing by more than $600 million between 2002 and 2006 to $2 billion, the study found.

It also showed gardening was a popular hobby for many Canadians, with three-quarters of households reporting they maintained a lawn or garden in 2006.

The federal agency noted that gardening practices, including pesticide and lawn mower use and water conservation practices vary greatly across the country.

"Households east of Ontario tended to make less use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers than those in the west," the study said.

"However, Easterners weren't as likely to use water sprinkler timers or capture rainwater for lawn and garden purposes."
Pesticide use lowest in Quebec

The proportion of gardeners who relied on pesticides to keep their grass green and weeds in check has dipped slightly from 31 per cent in 1994 to 29 per cent in 2005.

Quebec — which has introduced many municipal pesticide bans in recent years, including a widespread provincial ban in April 2006 — recorded the most significant decrease in pesticide use, with the proportion dropping from 30 per cent in 1994 to 15 per cent in 2005.

Pesticide use was highest in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta in 2005, with two of every five households using the products to maintain their lawns and gardens, according to the federal agency.
Gas mowers least popular in B.C.

The study also found that two-thirds of households with lawns used a gas-powered lawn mower in 2006.

Gas mowers were the most frequently used in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island and least used in B.C.

The federal agency noted that emissions from older, gas-powered mowers can take a considerable toll on the environment and have negative effects on human health.

"In one year, the average gas-powered mower can emit the same amount of a key smog pollutant as the average car travelling about 3,300 kilometres," Statistics Canada said.

In terms of water conservation, about 14 per cent of households used rain barrels or cisterns as a means of collecting rainwater for their lawns and gardens.

Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba led the country in use of the water-conservation devices.

About one-quarter of Canadians with lawns used sprinkler timers in 2005, with the highest proportion of users found in B.C.

The study noted that B.C. heavily promotes water conservation and regulates watering in select municipalities.

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