Byron Shire Council staff using the new steam-powered weeder sprayer.
Byron Shire Council staff using the new steam-powered weeder sprayer. Byron Shire Council

Weed killing is a steamy affair for Council

NEW weed-killing technology using the power of steam could potentially be implemented by Gladstone Regional Council in the future after initial success at Byron Bay.

Byron Shire Council has stepped up its commitment to eliminating the use of herbicides on all high-use public lands with the recent purchase of a new steam weeder.

The machine is regarded as one of the best and most efficient on the market, and is being used to kill weeds in public areas in the Byron Shire.

Byron Shire Council staff using the new steam-powered weeder sprayer.
Byron Shire Council staff using the new steam-powered weeder sprayer. Byron Shire Council

Byron council manager of Open Spaces and Resource Recovery Michael Matthews said the purchase of the new steam-weeding machine was great news for residents concerned about the use of chemicals in the community.

"In 2015 council resolved to stop using herbicides in all areas in the Byron Shire... this new steam weeder is one way of achieving this goal,” he said.

"This machine is highly effective at killing weeds without the use of chemicals.

"Staff are using it to kill weeds in and around children's playgrounds, which is a relief to many parents who feel strongly about the use of herbicides and other chemicals.

"An added bonus is that we are also able to use it as a steam machine to clean playground equipment, tables and paths.”

Byron Shire Council staff using the new steam-powered weeder sprayer.
Byron Shire Council staff using the new steam-powered weeder sprayer. Byron Shire Council

Gladstone council's Parks and Environment department said it would consider steam-powered weed control in the future.

"In general, mulch is used by council as a first defence against weeds within Gladstone region parks,” a spokesperson said.

"Biactive Glyphosate-based herbicides (such as Roundup) are used generally where needed.

"We do not use pre-emergent herbicides, as we are very cognisant of environmental and soil impacts in our parks.”

Roundup is the leading product made by agrochemical company Monsanto.
Roundup is the leading product made by agrochemical company Monsanto.

Gladstone council's Pest Management team currently uses species-specific herbicide to control giant rat's tail grass.

"It is unknown at this stage if steam-spray technology can provide an effective broad-scale control in the management of giant rat's tail grass or other invasive species,” they said.

"With advancements in technology and methods ... there may be potential future application and adoption by council.”

Roundup's key ingredient is glyphosate, which was recently added to California's list of chemicals that can cause cancer.

Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, insists glyphosate is not carcinogenic.



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