HELP SPREAD THE WORD

Dear West Chester neighbor,

Would you be willing to join citizens, the Borough, and the County Department of Health in an important civic and public health effort? What we ask of you is to help us educate people on your block on how not to breed mosquitoes on their property.

As a block captain, you would hand out a letter from Mayor Comitta with suggestions about how to reduce mosquito breeding and possible updates later on. All communications are via email and we will drop off at your house any handouts for neighbors. No meetings will be needed. The block captain also can pass on any concrete questions or situations about mosquitoes and we can get answers for you to relay.

More background:

In August 2015, the Chester County Health Department planned to spray insecticide on Marshall Square Park. A group of concerned citizens circulated a petition requesting that the Borough ask the department to “cease and desist” until more data about the safety of the pesticide became available. We gained the support of more than 400 signers as well as Mayor Carolyn Comitta and several Borough Council members. The Department of Health agreed to not spray in West Chester at that time.

A 2012 mosquito task force was revived, with County and Borough officials and concerned citizens. That committee is now urgently addressing the mosquito problem for this summer.

As coordinators of the “block captains” through our citizen-oriented Dontsprayme organization, we are contacting you because you signed our petition or have been recommended to us as someone concerned about environmental and health issues. We plan to assemble about 100 “block captains” who will work with us to distribute information to neighbors.

This initiative meshes well with the Borough’s Community Bill of Rights approved by 73% of voters in November, empowering local citizens rather than government entities to make environmental decisions.

Please join with like-minded citizens to protect the Borough from being sprayed with pesticides, which can contaminate air and soil, affect organic gardens, threaten health (particularly of children and individuals with allergies and asthma or autoimmune disorders; kill bees, bats, dragonflies and other helpful species (as well as cats). Though there may be acceptable biological alternatives, chemical insecticides are relatively ineffective and should be used as a last-ditch effort to head off concrete public health threats.

Please contact either of us to ask questions or to accept the block captain role. Working together, we can protect our community from pesticides and fight mosquitoes ourselves in an environmentally friendly way.

With thanks for your consideration,

Margaret Hudgings mhudgings@gmail.com or 610-692-3849
Nathaniel Smith nathanielbsmith@earthlink.net or 484-716-3361