Pesticides are toxic for organisms like birds, fish, and pollinating insects1. Neonicotinoids are a class of contentious pesticides that are used on more than 140 diverse crops and are injurious to bees2, and 49 species of aquatic insects4. Approx. one-third of all human food production is dependent on pollinators5;p3, and honey bees are responsible for 80% of pollination in cultivated crops, playing a key role in ecosystems6. Further, aquatic insects are vital for the ecosystem as they are a primary food source for vertebrates such as fish, frogs, etc7. Over 40% of insect species are declining and pesticides are a major factor14.
Pesticides have been directly linked with increased bee deaths, as neonicotinoids can harm bees' circadian rhythms and sleep patterns3. The use of neonicotinoids caused the death of more than 500M bees across Brazil in three months8, and a waterway exposed to neonicotinoids caused the collapse of two fish species in Japan, a dynamic likely occurring worldwide9. A Greenpeace scientific report identifies three major neonicotinoids-based pesticides – clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiametoxam6.
Bayer is a German pharmaceutical company and the largest producer of pesticides globally10. It is among the top five companies in the insecticide market, sharing 47% of the market share11.
The company's insecticide division made €1.37B in sales in 2020, growing particularly in Brazil12;p83. Bayer makes imidacloprid and clothianidin and it is one of the two largest manufacturers of neonicotinoids8. Monsanto, Bayer's subsidiary, is the leading producer of seeds pre-treated with neonicotinoids8.
In 2018 (latest data), Bayer’s Imidacloprid pesticide was its top 10 highest selling highly hazardous pesticides with sales of €88Mn13. The main market for sale was Brazil, which hosts up to 20% of the world’s biodiversity13.
Bayer's toxic pesticides are causing ecological imbalance. The company must introduce alternatives and be responsible for biodiversity.
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