Reports that parts of Port Kembla will be aerial sprayed with plant poison RoundUp has sparked public outrage.
As reported in the Mercury, residents were informed the Illawarra District Weeds Authority would be spraying the herbicide - true name glyphosate - from helicopters in late June.
It's part of annual spraying to combat the pest Bitou bush.
About 90ha would be sprayed around Hill 60 and Perkins Beach at Port Kembla. Another 40ha would be sprayed at Bass Point in Shellharbour and another 8ha on private land at Gerringong.
Hundreds of residents took to Facebook to express their alarm and anger that the controversial weedkiller was being used.
Sylvie Chaumont started a Change.org petition which calls for the spraying of RoundUp in the Illawarra to be cancelled until further review and the public agrees for it to be used.
On Sunday afternoon 180 people had signed it.
Sara Louise started another Change.org petition calling for a stop to the aerial spraying of RoundUp around the Illawarra. It has more than 1700 signatures.
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said he was not an expert but had been told in a briefing that the herbicide would not be spayed in residential areas and it would be carried out under "strict guidelines" as outlined by regulator, Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.
The authority has deemed glyphosate "safe to use according to label directions".
"The spraying will be carried out by well-trained personnel, who follow the guidelines, mitigate risk and ensure safety," he said.
"I understand the fears of people, I have fears too, which is why the Illawarra Shoalhaven Joint Organisation (which oversees the IDWA) will review the process this week.
"It will doubly check the IDWA adheres to guidelines."
"RoundUp has been used for a long time under strict guidelines and it is understood to be safe," he said.
"The WHO says many things from barbecue meat to alcohol can be carcinogenic.
"As long as the herbicide is not misused and is applied under the guidelines then it is appropriate to use."
Illawarra District Weeds Authority use aerial spraying to manage the weed across the coastal landscape and alternate methods were utilised where appropriate.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.