While the spraying of a controversial chemical called Naled (banned in the European Union) to help deal with Zika on Miami Beach has been delayed, it still appears be locked on the heart of South Beach.
The schedule has shifted to "Friday around 5:00 a.m, weather permitting," according to Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, with the next waves coming "Sunday, and the following two weekends."
Initially planned for Thursday morning, the spraying was delayed amid an "informational meeting" with residents, city officials, state officials and Naled experts, for "more time to prepare and inform," says Gimenez.
The polarizing chemical is viewed safe in small amounts by health officials, in this case the aerial spray equating to an ounce per acre. However, some like environmental biologist Dr. Elvia Melendez-Ackerman, who dealt with the same issue in Puerto Rico, says "people don't know all the risks," and that the chemical "degrades into a carcinogen," per the Miami New Times.
On the opposite side are folks like Mosquito Control spokesperson Francisco Calderon, who says Naled is nothing new in this county.
"Miami-Dade County has been using naled safely for approximately four decades," Calderon says via email. (The county has mostly used that pesticide in agricultural fields, though, rather than in urban areas.) "We only use it during aerial spraying operations, not handheld or truck spraying, per CDC and [Florida Department of Health] recommendations. The insecticide is registered for use by both the EPA and [Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services]. It can only be applied by a licensed professional, which is what we do."
Some residents are leaving town while others think it's a necessity. There's also concern over what the chemical could do to not only us and our pets but necessary insects like bees. South Carolina lost roughly 2.5 million honey bees due to the spraying of Naled...
City officials appear to be mixed as well, with the ultimate decision coming down from Governor Rick Scott, according to Miami Beach Mayor Phillip Levine, who says the experts say it must be done.
That’s not comforting. A man who hasn’t publicly acknowledged the reality of Climate Change is making these tough decisions, ones that impact our safety.
Naled was sprayed in Wynwood a few weeks ago and is expected to have its "Zika Zone" lifted September 19th if all continues to go well.
Personally I think spraying Naled is foolish if there's even a sliver of concern, which clearly there is. It's not like the beach is crawling with Zika and mosquitos are swarming at every turn. I walk my dog three times a day in the heart of this "Zika Zone" and haven't so much as sniffed a mosquito. I never see mosquitos in the area.
We want to know where Miami Beach residents stand. Voice your opinions in the poll and/or in the comments.