March 5, 2024


The lengthy awaited ban on using lead photographs in wetlands lastly got here into drive on 25 January. This units the timetable for the ban’s implementation in Member States: they’ve till 15 February 2023, or 2024 if the nation’s floor consists of greater than 20% of wetlands.

Why does this matter? This legislation will cut back the annual demise of an estimated a million waterbirds which at the moment die of lead poisoning within the EU, and halt the acute poisoning of wetland wildlife. It will save hundreds of thousands of lives.


Lead shot consists of tiny spherical bullets that hunters spray out of their rifles to kill animals. They use it to hunt waterbirds and different small animals, in wetlands and elsewhere. It is estimated that hunters pollute our wetlands with greater than 20,000 tonnes of lead shot each single yr, regardless of the existence of alternate options.


Lead shot is especially problematic for waterbirds which ingest lead pellets, mistaking them for grit: small particles of stone or sand. Birds swallow small bits of grit to behave like tooth within the gizzard, a specialised abdomen constructed of thick, muscular partitions used for grinding up meals. The grit helps to interrupt down arduous meals, corresponding to seeds. 


The lead ban will even lower the secondary poisoning of raptors and scavengers, that are usually poisoned whereas consuming prey contaminated with lead shot. And past birds, this new legislation will enhance the overall well being of our pure atmosphere, by stopping lead from poisoning wetlands.

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When it involves banning poison, delay means demise

While the lead shot ban could be very welcome information, the period of time it took to acquire it’s merely outrageous. Lead’s influence on waterbirds, and the necessity to ban and take away lead from nature, has been identified for many years by hunters and conservationists alike. AEWA, the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds – an intergovernmental treaty administered by the UN – has been working in the direction of a ban on using poisonous lead ammunition because it was established some 25 years in the past. As a matter of reality, AEWA’s Contracting Parties (82 international locations, together with the EU and its Member States) have been speculated to have phased out using lead ammunition in wetlands by the yr 2000!


We’re now in 2021. As roughly a million waterbirds are killed through lead shot poisoning annually; because of this the 20 years lengthy delay has resulted within the killing of round 20 million waterbirds. Twenty million. For nothing. And we’re not even speaking in regards to the horrifying poisoning of all different types of wildlife.


This pointless, totally avoidable bloodbath was solely made doable by the skilful techniques of delay employed by the hunting-weapons trade and components of the looking foyer.

Half a century in the past, the fossil gasoline trade knew in regards to the devastating impacts of greenhouse fuel emissions on the local weather, and put all their may into delaying any type of regulation. This is a really related scenario: the hunting-weapons trade has identified in regards to the horror brought on by lead ammunition for many years, and has chosen a technique of delay.

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So, whereas we have fun the ever-closer finish of such pointless demise and destruction; our leaders should be taught a lesson: relating to ending causes of intense hurt, delay means demise. Our decision-makers should recognise the techniques of delay that are employed by the opponents of the residing; and comply with science in a well timed method. In reality, whether or not we’re speaking about ending lead shot in wetlands, using fossil fuels, dangerous agricultural subsidies, or burning forests for vitality; defending the residing at all times requires fast and decisive motion.


ECHA, The European Chemicals Agency, has lately assessed the well being and environmental dangers posed by lead projectiles in looking and out of doors sports activities capturing, in addition to lead utilized in fishing sinkers and lures. The Agency concluded that an EU-wide restriction could be justified. We are able to help ECHA of their search of data within the coming months; and we rely on our determination makers to behave swiftly to guard the pure world and human well being. Lead should go. Time is just not on our facet.