In a historic first, Europe will impose a continent-wide ban on pesticides alleged to harm bees. Across the globe, hives of honeybees are dying off in a phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder. Bees as pollinators are are vital for food production. Among the proposed culprits for bee deaths are chemicals called neonicotinoids found in pesticides European countries voted Monday, on banning neonicotinoids, found in insecticides.
Debate over neonicotinoids is fierce. Conservation groups have called for a ban on their use, but agricultural organizations have said that farmers will face hardship if that happens. Chemical companies say the science in the case is inconclusive, and they also say that a ban will harm food production.
Fifteen countries voted in favour of a ban, not enough to form a qualified majority. The final decision is now with the European commission, which will implement the ban. According to EU rules, the Commission will now impose a a two-year restriction on neonicotinoids.