"The world's most widely used insecticide is devastating dragonflies, snails and other water-based species, a groundbreaking Dutch study has revealed."
"On Monday, the insecticide and two others were banned for two years from use on some crops across the European Union, due to the risk posed to bees and other pollinators, on which many food crops rely.
However, much tougher action in the form of a total worldwide ban is needed, according to the scientist who led the new study.
'We are risking far too much to combat a few insect pests that might threaten agriculture,' said Dr Jeroen van der Sluijs at Utrecht University. 'This substance should be phased out internationally as soon as possible.' The pollution was so bad in some places that the ditch water in fields could have been used as an effective pesticide, he said.
Van der Sluijs added that half the 20,000 tonnes of the imidacloprid produced each year is not affected by the EU ban. It is used not to treat crops, but to combat fleas and other pests in cattle, dogs and cats. 'All this imidacloprid ends up in surface water,' he said."
Damian Carrington reports for the Guardian May 1, 2013.