Environmental and farming organisations are urging the Swiss government to come to the rescue of insects. They launched a petitionexternal link in Bern on Tuesday demanding a thorough analysis of insect deaths and rapid measures to deal with them.
The text of the non-binding petition calls for "elucidating as soon as possible the problem of the disappearance of insects to inform the population and take effective measures".
The committee that launched the petition, comprised of the Swiss Federation of Nature Friends, Dark-Sky Switzerland, the Swiss Farmers' Association and Apisuisse, hopes to collect 50,000 signatures by the end of November.
"Probably more than half of all insects have disappeared in the last thirty years," said the alarmed petitioners citing research conducted in Germany. They believe Switzerland is probably not immune to this phenomenon.
Unlocking financial resources
On that basis, they demand that the reasons for and extent of the disappearance of insects in the various regions of Switzerland be elucidated scientifically. Sufficient financial resources must be made available 'without delay' according to the petition.
The committee also calls for the “immediate and scrupulous” implementation of action plans on biodiversity, bee health and plant protection productions, including related measures to reduce light pollution. It also wishes to see greater “public awareness”.
Where insects disappear, birds starve and crops suffer. Insects play an indispensable role in crop pollination, says Jacques Bourgeois, director of the Swiss Farmers' Union, in a statement.
Huge economic impact
Worldwide, the action of pollinating insects is estimated in financial terms at about CHF172 billion (€153 billion), according to a 2016 Franco-German study mentioned by the petitioners. Insects also play an essential role in soil fertility.
The petition exists online and on paper. The collection period runs until November 24, 2018. The committee's objective is to submit at least 50,000 signatures to the government and parliament during the winter parliamentary session, which will begin on November 26.