Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pollution and pesticides - Quick facts

Pesticides are also a significant cause of pollution that is happening on our planet. Pesticides create the pollution of not only land but also water, and the main reason for worry is the fact that pollution cause with pesticides is on the rise, since the number of pesticides farmers use has increased heavily in the last few decades.

Many recent studies have confirmed that traces of different pesticides have been found in almost every lake, river, and stream in the United States.

Pesticides have significant effect on soil quality. Most pesticides are not only harmful to intended pest but they also harm and kill other small organisms which deteriorates the soil quality, and this in the end results in the problems with the retention of water, creating big problems in time of the drought.

Pesticides must be approved for sale and use by a government agency, in United States this is done by the Environmental Protection Agency. Despite the complex tests that should determine whether the material is safe to use and effective against the intended pest mistakes still happen, and some very hazardous pesticides get green light to be used by farmers.

Recent studies have confirmed that over 98% of sprayed insecticides and 95% of herbicides reach a destination other than their target species, including non-target species, air, water and soil.

Extensive use of pesticides is not only bad from environmental point of view but can also lead to serious health issues. According to the World Health Organization data around 3 million workers in agriculture in the developing world experience severe poisoning from pesticides, about 18,000 of whom die. One of the recent studies reported that there is 70% increase in the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease for people exposed to even low levels of pesticides.

Pesticides are also believed to be one of the main contributing factors to recent honeybee population decline. We must not forget that third of everything we eat depends upon honeybee pollination.

Increases use of pesticides can sometimes isn't 100 percent sure method to get rid of the certain pest because through the process of natural selection some pests may develop and eventually become highly resistant to pesticides.

Though many farmers see pesticides as the most effective option to destroy the pests some other (less polluting) methods have also showed the same (and even better) level of efficiency. For instance, there was this rather interesting study of Maize yields in northern Florida that found that the application of composted yard waste with high carbon to nitrogen ratio to agricultural fields was highly effective at reducing the population of plant-parasitic nematodes and increasing crop yield, with yield increases ranging from 10% to 212%.

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