Tuesday, November 19, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 37
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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on July 10th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 19 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 20, Issue 19

New pesticide reporting app improves investigation process

By Kasey Bubnash

California recently released a new pesticide reporting app that can be downloaded on smartphones, and state and local officials expect the new technology to expedite the pesticide incident reporting and investigation process. 

 


REPORTING MADE EASY
A new pesticide incident reporting app, CASPIR (California’s System for Pesticide Incident Reporting), is intended to make it easier for individuals with complaints or concerns about local pesticide applications to report those incidents.
SCREENSHOT COURTESY OF CASPIR

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation announced on June 26 the launch of its new pesticide incident reporting app, CASPIR (California’s System for Pesticide Incident Reporting), which is intended to make it easier for individuals with complaints or concerns about local pesticide applications to report those incidents. 

The app can be downloaded for free by anyone with a smartphone or tablet, is available in both English and Spanish, and allows for a more immediate, detailed, and secure reporting process and response time, according to Rudy Martel, assistant agricultural commissioner of Santa Barbara County. 

“I think it’s just a quicker response over all,” Martel said, adding that rather than calling around, leaving voicemails, and trying to find the correct avenue of reporting, witnesses to suspicious pesticide activity can now immediately report their concerns. 

The Department of Pesticide Regulation receives about 300 pesticide complaints annually, according to data collected by the department, and in Santa Barbara County alone, Martel said there were 54 complaints in 2017, 38 in 2018, and 19 so far this year. 

Those complaints can be about anything pesticide-related—a pesticide application that looks illegal or suspicious, farmworkers who have experienced pesticide exposure, complaints of dangerous pesticide drift into neighboring cities, etc. 

The incident reports are funneled through the Department of Pesticide Regulation and the Environmental Protection Agency, then forwarded to county agricultural commissioners for investigation. 

Martel said the app should improve processing, tracking, and timeliness of initiating pesticide investigations, and it allows individuals to include more information about the incident, including photos, videos, pinpointed locations via GPS, and contact information. 

The Central California Environmental Justice Network works with farmworkers throughout the San Joaquin Valley, and its director, Nayamin Martinez, said in a press release that the app will be helpful to individuals who witness pesticide incidents to include necessary and specific information in their reports.

“We have seen that farmworkers, who are trying to report a pesticide incident at work, sometimes have difficulty describing the exact location of the fields,” Martinez said in the release. “We are glad that CASPIR can help address this issue with its GPS system.” 

Kasey Bubnash




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