The reduction of environmental risks from plant protection products is to be monitored by the Confederation using a risk indicator. The indicator also takes into account the degree of implementation of risk reduction measures in practice. This degree of implementation was estimated by a study.
The Action Plan for Risk Reduction and Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products (AP PPP) aims to halve the environmental risks of plant protection products (PPP) by 2027 compared to the baseline period 2012-2015. To validate this goal, the Agroscope Research Station developed risk indicators that map the potential risks of PPPs on living organisms in surface waters. Among other things, this calculation also takes into account the exposure factor of an active substance. This represents the expected risk reduction through technical measures and takes into account their degree of implementation in practice. Since no controlled data collection on the implementation of such risk reduction measures with respect to surface waters is available to date, the degree of implementation was derived on the basis of an estimate by experts. For this purpose, various experts from the field of plant and water protection were contacted for each canton.
The derivation of the degree of implementation was determined through a two-stage Delphi survey, during which the respondents could look at the results of a previous round of survey and re-evaluate them, if desired. The survey aimed to estimate the degree of implementation of measures against drift and runoff of PPPs, the implementation of untreated buffer strips in the PEP along surface waters, and the degree of implementation of the requirements for a compliant filling and washing station. This was done in each case for the reference period 2012-2015 as well as for the year 2021. Runoff reduction measures were only assessed for the year 2021, as these were introduced in 2018. In each case, the experts’ estimates were averaged for each canton and weighted by cantonal share of open land areas under arable and perennial crops in relation to the total Swiss area. Thus, the higher use of PPPs by cantons with many arable and perennial crops is taken into account.
The implementation level of PPP risk reduction measures is estimated to be higher for 2021
Results showed that all implementation levels of the PPP risk reduction measures for the year 2021 were estimated to be higher than the implementation levels of the same measures for the reference period 2012-2015. The implementation level of drift control measures could be increased by 25 % to 83 % (± 8 %) in 2021 compared to the reference period. The degree of implementation of the 6 m buffer strips in the PEP could be increased by 9 % to 93 % (± 7 %) in 2021 compared to the reference period, and can therefore be considered as almost fully implemented. The national implementation level of runoff measures was estimated at 78 % (± 15 %) for the year 2021. The implementation of compliant filling and washing stations has been increased by 24% from the reference period to 76% (± 13%) by 2021. The degree of implementation provides an indication of the measures for which there is still potential for further improvement in order to avoid potential environmental risks.
Table 1: Summary table of all estimated national implementation levels of risk reduction measures. The weighting of the The weighting of the mean values was based on the cantonal shares of open arable land and perennial crops.
- A Delphi survey was used to successfully determine implementation levels of risk reduction measures in practice for the period 2012-2015 as well as for the year 2021.
- From the period of reference 2012-2015 up until 2021, an increase in the implementation of all risk reduction measures as well as the implementation of compliant filling and washing stations has been confirmed.
- Of all risk reduction measures, the implementation of buffer strips along surface waters in PEP scored the best results, whereas the implementation of compliant filling and washing spaces was rated the lowest.
- The data serve as basis for deriving an exposure factor for the risk indicator.