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Letter: Pesticides at the Great Salt Lake do more harm than good

Todd Haskew, Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District vector control technician, collects a water sample from a mosquito source, looking for mosquito larvae, in Salt Lake City on Thursday, July 23, 2020.
Todd Haskew, Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District vector control technician, collects a water sample from a mosquito source, looking for mosquito larvae, in Salt Lake City on Thursday, July 23, 2020.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

The Great Salt Lake is the largest salt water lake in the Western Hemisphere. Ten million birds use Great Salt Lake annually. The Great Salt Lake has been designated a Globally Important Bird Area. The lake provides a habitat for millions of birds. The wetlands along the edges of the Great Salt Lake also provide critical habitat for millions of migratory shorebirds and waterfowl.

The pesticides being sprayed over the Great Salt Lake are not just poisonous to mosquitoes. They are toxic to butterflies, bees, birds, wildlife and humans as well. The sprayed neurotoxins will blow in the wind and kill the bees who are responsible for pollinating our food. They will increase sickness and death among wildlife, they will affect the bodies and minds of growing children.

The pollutants intentionally sprayed in our state will eventually settle to the ground causing toxic runoff and may enter the groundwater system.

Increased application of chemicals to control for mosquitoes and other noxious biting insects is bad for the entire web of life. Insects and invertebrates are elemental in maintaining a healthy wetland food web. In this time of climate change and mass extinction, we shouldn’t dare spray neurotoxins into our air.

Tena Rohr

Salt Lake City