Pesticide Use in Spain. A worker without protective clothing only wearing a paper breathing protection sprays pesticides on vegetables in a greenhouse. 10/14/2005 © Greenpeace / Ángel Garcia

Today is Earth Day, and approximately one month since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed-killer, probably causes cancer.

In the Netherlands, where I live, spring is approaching and gardeners are getting their little corners of paradise ready for the growing season. Just the other day, clearing up my balcony, I noticed my neighbour, a lady in her seventies, handling, without protection, a green bottle of Roundup while working in the garden below. I couldn’t stop myself. I went downstairs and started telling her it was best to stop using the product immediately.

Roundup is the world's most heavily used weed-killer. And while concerns that Roundup is toxic to humans have been mounting for two decades now, little has been done to prevent yet another man-made disaster from happening. The result: millions of acres of farmland, parks, gardens and sidewalks are sprayed with Roundup each year, and scientists have detected this probable human carcinogen in our air, rain and even inside our bodies.

As concerned citizens, we need to urge our government to apply the precautionary principle and suspend the use of glyphosate where it results in the greatest public exposure, either directly or through residues in our food.

Meanwhile a thorough re-assessment of glyphosate needs to be carried out. It needs to take into account the WHO decision and other independent studies. Ultimately, a plan must be devised to phase-out, not just glyphosate but all chemical pesticides, and move towards ecological farming, a chemical-free model based on the latest scientific innovations and farmer’s knowledge that delivers healthy food for people without harming the environment.

If you are as concerned as I am, sign the petition.

Patrizia Cuonzo is a media relations specialist with Greenpeace International.