The European Parliament has decided to ban the use of lead ammunition in wetlands across the EU. 362 MPs voted for the ban, 292 against and 39 abstained.
Although the REACH committee had already voted for the ban on lead in October because of its highly toxic properties, members of parliament remained divided over the motion of the far-right European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and Identity and Democracy (ID). ID has already filed one more objection, which means that the final and final vote on this issue will take place sometime today, Wednesday.
Lead has been used in ammunition and fishing tackle for decades, although it has known the terrible effects it has on humans, animals and nature. The lead shot, preferred by many as ammunition, consists of many tiny bullets that are sprayed from the rifle instead of just firing one bullet. Because of this, only a small fraction of the lead fired hits its target. The rest is scattered in nature. It is estimated that these uses emit around 21 to 27 000 tonnes of lead into the EU environment each year.
Bewick’s Swan, Copyright Glyn Sellors, from the Surfbirds Galleries
These spheres are often ingested by water birds such as swans, flamingos, ducks, and geese who tragically confuse them for the pebbles they use for digestion and the seeds they eat. The European Chemicals Agency estimates that more than a million waterfowl die each year.
Ariel Brunner, Senior Head of Policy at BirdLife Europe: It is a relief and encouraging to see MPs refusing to fall into the trap of disinformation and scare tactics that has been spat around on the matter. Everyone knows that lead is poisonous. We urge MPs to keep listening to science and to reject the ID group’s almost identical opposition today. With final approval from Member States, the EU can finally remove lead from our wetlands and save millions of wild birds from slow, painful death. And hopefully this is the stepping stone that the EU needs to ultimately ban lead ammunition everywhere.