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Hot-Spot Management Monitoring of Plant Protection Products in the Natural Environment

What is Hot-Spot Management within the Plant Protection Sector?

Notwithstanding the accomplished progress in minimizing dangers and risks, the usage of plant protection products in agriculture, forestry and gardening increases the risk for specific sectors and areas. It is imperative to identify these sectors defined by time, area or objective fact (so-called hot spots) to develop mutual – partly region-specific – strategies for risk-minimization.
Hot spots may not necessarily be foreseen during the authorization procedure of plant protection products. In addition the Plan Protection Act requires a specific duty of care of users.

To further minimize residual risks a comprehensive system must be established that

  • proactively foresees areas of increased potential risk as much as possible (potential hot spots),
  • indicates and measures hot spot incidents reliably (hot spot monitoring),
  • proposes appropriate avoidance and risk-minimization measures with the involvement of the concerned party,
  • heoretically appraises and practically controls the effect of such measures.

This system is tagged Hot-Spot-Management. Its functioning contributes significantly to the success of the National Action Plan on the sustainable use of plant protection products.

Key Aspects for the Coming Years

  1. As a hot spot already identified is the punctual input of plant protection products into surface waters, as a rule caused through improper cleaning of plant protection equipment (Blarr, S., Eyring, J., Bach, M. and Frede, H.: Identification and avoidance of hot spots of plant protection products in surface waters – detection and quantifying of punctual inputs. Final report. BMEL-BLE-project 05H022. Gießen, 3/09). The so-called punctual inputs represent more than 50 percent of the measured total inputs of plant protection products into surface waters. Counselling and educating farmers can remedy this. The prospective compulsory training duty of users helps even further.
  2. The risk of diffuse inputs into surface waters shall be identified, analysed and mitigated through appropriate measures, as well. Diffuse inputs are caused by an occurrence of unfavourable circumstances such as frequent usage of a certain substance in a region with a high water density, coupled with extreme rainfall events and unfavourable soil conditions.
  3. A third hot spot is the contamination of ground water with plant protection products or their relevant metabolites