Outraged Miami Residents Shut Down Town Meeting Over Zika Pesticide Spraying
'If you're going to spray, we want a say!' chanted demonstrators
Outraged Miami Beach residents shut down a city commission meeting on Wednesday evening over the city's widespread spraying of the controversial pesticide naled to combat mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus.
"If you're going to spray, we want a say!" the protesters shouted.
The activists and concerned citizens "cursed elected officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for mixed messages about aerial spraying over South Beach and refusing to detail all locations where adult mosquitoes have been isolated with the virus," AP reports.
Watch footage of the demonstration here:
Miami Beach residents have been protesting the city's naled spraying with daily demonstrations outside of the city hall.
As Common Dreams has reported, many experts have warned that the city's spraying may be dangerous as well as ineffective.
Aerial spraying of naled in South Carolina also killed millions of honeybees earlier this month. (Widespread bee deaths have also been reported and photographed in the wake of spraying campaigns in Miami Beach.)
Moreover, while "officials call naled safe and effective for killing adult mosquitoes, they also say children should stay inside during spraying," AP notes.
"We don't think this poses a big risk, but people need to avoid unnecessarily being exposed to it. If aerial applications are occurring ... don't let your kids out to play," Jack Housenger, director of the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Pesticide Programs, told AP. "If toys are outside, be sure to wash them off."
One commissioner was on the side of the anti-pesticide activists on Wednesday, observing that naled is a neurotoxin, and introduced a resolution to end the spraying. He was met with overwhelming cheers.
But most of the officials had no patience for the protesters. City Commissioner Ricky Arriola dismissed them outright, telling NBC: "You might not like the medicine, but you may have to take a little of it to get the Zika under control."
Despite residents' fears and concerns, the commission as a whole remained firm in its commitment to spraying the controversial pesticide. They did, however, pass a resolution to ask the state of Florida to research other options, CBS Miami reports.
Aerial spraying of naled resumed in Miami Beach on Friday, according to CNN.