Most of the public agencies have some type of responsibility for pest control associated with public health, natural resource management, maintenance of open spaces, maintenance of turf & landscape, maintenance of rights-of-way around roads, airports, parks & facilities, public works, maintenance of structures such as office complexes, libraries, correctional facilities, hospitals, schools, yards, animal shelters etc. These pest control services include use of pesticides. Frequent pesticide use in highly populated urban municipalities increases the risk and probability of pesticide exposures.
Consumers have diverse views and preferences about pesticide use. The public generally believes that insects, diseases, and other pests need to be controlled but also believes that there are effective alternatives to pesticides. This diversity has important implications for public policy, marketing, and risk communication. Public is becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of pesticides on their health and the local ecosystem . While the debate continues about whether pesticide residue problems are real or perceived, there are real problems all should be directing their efforts toward solving. Pesticides are not a homogeneous group of chemicals. There are many different chemicals with many different characteristics, potential health risks and potential environmental effects.
Regulatory agencies are also highly concerned about non-point source pollution due to the use of pesticides and its effect on land and water resources. Local governments have a particularly difficult job of complying with new regulations due to the size and complexity of the areas they maintain. Increasingly their managers are asked to develop pest management plans for many different ecosystems, from unincorporated open spaces and parks to right-of-ways around roads, airports, trails and urban landscapes to office complexes, libraries, hospitals, correctional facilities and other public buildings.
Public Agencies need a more integrated, systematic approach to managing pests, an approach known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Public Agencies must be willing to invest time and money to increase employee knowledge of pest ecology and biology and reduced risk control strategies. The implementation of IPM programs for pest control in public agencies would reduce the amount of pesticide introduced into the environment. The workers of public agencies must be experienced in maintaining very diverse ecosystems while dealing with many different types of pests. In many instances, the staff may not have the ability or resources to develop long term pest management plans or to evaluate the competence of contracted pest control services. This has led to problems with continued reliance on pesticides with greater impacts on fragile ecosystem.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) a long term, sustainable strategy is an evolving process where Government agencies, universities, and other organizations must come together to provide up-to-date, accurate information for pest management. Prevention, education and technical assistance continue to be the keys to the success of this program.