Spilling the beans

Community Featured

The soybeans that are spilled in the River John and Louisville Road area of the Sunrise Trail had still not been cleaned up as of Monday.

River John resident Catherine Hughes said it was her partner, June Daley, who first noticed treated soybeans had been spilled on June 5 when she was out walking their dog, Penny. Hughes contacted the Department of Agriculture, but she said the beans are still on the side of the road where they are available to animals, bird and insects and can leach into the soil and water.

“Someone was out Friday and looked at it, but I don’t really know what their plans are yet,” she said.

“It’s very frustrating that I haven’t been able to find out in more than a week what it is that’s all over our road.”

Hughes said the soybeans are all treated with a green pesticide coating, “but I’m not exactly sure what it is,” she said in a previous interview.

Most soybean seeds, she says, are treated with a neonicotinoid pesticide as well as a fungicide. According to the nature.com website, neonicotinoids are the most widely used insecticides worldwide and are typically deployed as seed treatments in many grain and oilseed crops, including soybeans.

“Neonicotinoids are very dangerous for wildlife, bees, humans,” she says.

Both Hughes and Daley spent most of a morning picked the seeds up but, she says, the spill is too large for it all to be picked up that way.

“It’s heartbreaking to see the beans all over the road, and the other day it poured rain and hailed and I was thinking what’s going into the water? That water eventually drains into the estuary of Kajipukwuk, or River John.”

Seeds shouldn’t end up where they’re not wanted, she says, like on the road, where they pose a danger to wildlife, dogs, birds.

“They are bright green and look like candy. You can’t stop birds from eating them.”

A call to the Department of Agriculture was not returned as of press time.