German railway company to halve use of weed killer glyphosate by 2020

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-31 02:30:53|Editor: Wu Qin
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BERLIN, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- German railway company Deutsche Bahn (DB) announced on Friday that it aims to reduce the use of the herbicide glyphosate by half in the coming year.

"Large parts of the rail network will no longer be treated with the herbicide from 2020" in Germany, DB said.

In order to keep the rails free of vegetation, the company would "increasingly use mechanical-manual processes" as an alternative to chemical solutions, such as the weed killer glyphosate.

Climate and environmental protection would be "anchored in the new Strong Rail strategy" as one of the most important corporate goals, DB noted. To that end, environmentally-friendly vegetation control has become "one of the focal points."

DB has been working for several years on developing effective alternatives to glyphosate and is currently testing "possible solutions based on the use of hot water, electricity and UV-C (ultraviolet) light."

DB uses 0.4 percent of the total amount of herbicides applied in Germany, but the use of weed killers has been "continuously reduced" in recent years.

DB applied 70 tons of herbicides in track areas in 2016. This amount was reduced to 67 tons in 2017 and 57 tons in 2018 through the use of "increasingly precise technologies" such as cameras and sensors, the company stated.