Scheme to spray pines extended

A government scheme to spray Attica’s pines with insecticide, in a bid to rid the trees of a lethal sap-sucking insect, has had «satisfactory» results and will be extended to other parts of the country, the Agriculture Ministry said yesterday. Last year, authorities in many municipalities in Attica sprayed their pines with chemicals, drawing protests from environmentalists worried that pumping chemicals into the atmosphere would pose a public health risk. Now a state committee of scientists has approved the use of this same «low-toxicity» chemical to spray other public areas where pine trees have been afflicted by the Marchalina hellenica bug. The Agriculture Ministry and the Health Ministry said they would brief local authorities about forthcoming spraying schemes. The schemes come more than a decade after authorities introduced the insect to Greek pine forests to boost honey production. The insect causes trees to wither by draining them of their sap, secreting a while fluff that is an important source of food for bees.

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