Ottawa: Plant health is essential to both human and animal health, as well as our environment and our economy.
Canada is committed to preventing the introduction and spread of plant pests through strong partnerships with neighbouring countries and the active participation of Canadians.
Canada, the United States and Mexico are lighting up iconic monuments and landmarks in the colour green for the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH). The “Plant Health Knows No Borders” illumination initiative by the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) is especially poignant in April, Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month.
Plants make up 80 percent of the food we eat and produce 98 percent of the oxygen we breathe. Protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, defend the environment and boost economic development!
The following North American landmarks will shine green for the IYPH:
• The Canadian and American sides of Niagara Falls
• Canadian Museum of Nature
• The U.S. Department of
Agriculture’s Jamie L. Whitten headquarters building on the Washington National Mall
• Government Buildings in Mexico City
• Mexico Independence Monument
• Monument to Cuauhtémoc, last Aztec Emperor
• Mexican’s Revolution Monument
With a growing world population and increasing global trade, plant health is more important than ever for a steady food supply, a healthy environment and a strong economy in Canada and around the world.
Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, said: “Plant health knows no borders. Invasive insects and plant diseases easily cross international borders. That’s why it’s important to work together with our neighbours to protect our precious resources. As a leader in plant protection, Canada enthusiastically supports the International Year of Plant Health. I encourage all Canadians to be vigilant about plant protection and help spread the word through social media.”
Dr. Osama El-Lissy, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant Protection and Quarantine added: “These illuminations in Canada, Mexico, and the United States demonstrate a powerful solidarity in plant protection that stretches across North America.
“This event will raise public awareness about the need to protect our vulnerable plant resources against damaging invasive pests. These pests can devastate crops, throw ecosystems out of balance, and jeopardize the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers. We encourage people to visit HungryPests.coms.”
Francisco Ramírez y Ramírez, Mexico’s Plant Health General Director, said: “It is important for Mexico’s society to be aware that plant health drives sustainable agriculture, fosters economic and commercial development, and creates responsible practices which help reduce pest spread and encourage scientific innovation.”
• Canada, the US and Mexico have been collaborating to promote the International Year of Plant Health and to protect plant health across North America
• Canadians can help protect our plants by:
◦ reporting any unusual plants or insects to the CFIA online or on social media @InspectionCan
◦ burning only local or heat-treated firewood to reduce the spread of the plant pests like the emerald ash borer that hide in firewood
◦ engaging kids in becoming plant health heroes through fun and interactive youth activity booklets
◦ being careful about where plants and seeds are sourced and, if buying online, choosing reputable domestic suppliers, or importing them legally to avoid exotic pests and diseases
◦ getting involved with #PlantHealth and #IYPH on social media to raise awareness about plant protection.