A DILIGENT environmental campaigner has been recognised by a national newspaper for her fight against pesticides.
Georgina Downs, who lives near Chichester, has been nominated in the category of Local Hero for the Observer Ethical Awards.
Ms Downs has campaigned for more than ten years against the use of chemicals and pesticides in farming after experiencing permanent health damage as a result of crop spraying.
She eventually won a high court battle which has recently resulted in the government publicly confirming changes to its policy approach to assessing the public health risk of crop sprays.
Ms Downs is one of five local campaigners in the UK who have been shortlisted for the award – recognising hardworking volunteers ‘who strive to build a better nation’.
“I am very honoured to have been shortlisted for one of this year’s Observer Ethical Awards, the Local Hero category,” said Georgina.
“It was 13 years ago when I was staying at a friend’s house having been forced out of my own home from crop-spraying around the area that I suddenly realised that if a farmer was permitted to be spraying poisonous chemicals in the locality of any house or school, children’s playground or any other occupied premises, then there had to be something seriously wrong with the government’s policy.
“It was at that moment I decided that I would do everything I could to try to secure protection for people in rural areas from pesticides.”
Ms Downs said successive governments had ‘failed to protect rural communities from pesticides’, something she says is one of the biggest public health scandals of our time.
“Therefore I will continue to fight on until the government stop exposing people to these chemicals,” she said.
To find out more about the Observer ethical awards or to vote for the winner, visit www.theguardian.com/observer-ethical-awards