The European Commission is drafting a plan to cut chemical pesticide use in half by 2030 to protect bees and other biodiversity, according to Reuters.
The draft comes amid EU lawmakers calling for binding targets to reduce the overall use of pesticides across the continent.
While the EU previously banned neonicotinoids — insecticides that target the central nervous system — in 2018, many other pesticides still pose a serious threat to Europe’s bee population.
Chemical pesticides are acutely toxic and hazardous to bees, causing colonies to collapse and individual bees to perish.
In 2018, honey bee colonies fell by an average of 16% in 33 countries in Europe due to climate change and the use of pesticides.
The European Food Safety Authority also reported a significant drop in the number of bees in western Europe over the last 15 years. This could potentially endanger up to 76% of food production.
While the draft proposal only aims to cut chemical pesticides by 50%, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), an organic food and farming organization, argues that synthetic insecticides should be reduced by 80% by 2030.
In a recent statement, Bayer, one of the top pesticide producers, claimed the company is working with farmers to reduce the environmental impact of its products by at least 30%.
Farming groups are wary of an all-out ban on insecticides, however, citing their concerns of crop failure.
“We acknowledge calls for pesticide reductions and let’s be clear — we are open to discuss targets,” the director-general of the European Crop Protection Association, Geraldine Kutas, told Reuters. “Targets, however, have to be realistic and science-based.”