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Should Use of Pesticides Be Banned in Agriculture, Yes or No

Introduction

The need to satisfy the feed the growing population has led to massive technological transformations in almost every field. As a result, innovation is presently influencing all spheres of human life in various dimensions. Similarly, the situation in agricultural is not any different. significant innovations have occurred in farming with the intention to improve the production of agricultural commodities to satisfy the ever growing need for food. Among the common innovations are pesticides meant to kill insecticides and weeds that affected crops. Currently, utilization of pesticides to manage pests and weeds has increasingly become a common practice in 21st century farming. Apparently, pesticides are the only chemical substances that are intentionally released into the environment to eliminate unwanted organisms that cause harm to crops. For instance, among the commonly used pesticides include herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides, and insecticides. Even though pesticides are intentionally applied to kill pests, several studies have proved that pesticides linger in the atmosphere, soil, and waterways long after their intended use hence creating a buildup of adverse pollution in the environment with continued application. Therefore, use of pesticides in agriculture must be terminated forthwith because they contain toxins that are harmful to human beings, destroy the ecosystem and are a serious threat to aquatic life.

Why Pesticide Use must be Discontinued

Aktar, Dwaipayan and Chowdhury examined the effects of pesticides and established that certain pesticides must go into the soil to be effective. As a result, movement of pesticide carries toxic substances away from target pests leading to reduced pest control, surface and ground water contamination in addition to causing harm to non-target species including human beings.  Due to advanced agricultural technology, pesticides were invented as crop protection technology to increase food production as well as reduce the cost of food. As a result of pesticide usage, the world witnessed a significant improvement in food production which earlier on was taken aback by pests. Consequently, the world embraced pesticides as a major way of controlling pests in agricultural farms, public parks, lakes, ponds, and gardens. Pests like army worms, rodents, and ants, as well as fungi, attack crops hence, reduce agricultural yields. Notably, crop pests pose many threats especially on agricultural goods for example; insect damage often leads to aflatoxin contamination. Since aflatoxin is carcinogenic, it exposes human beings to health threats including liver cancer, reduction of immune response and impaired growth among children. Similarly, Some fumigants used in agriculture contain have greenhouse effect when released in the atmosphere.

Therefore, to curb aflatoxin, pesticides are considered the best option because they help eliminate pests hence production of quality agricultural goods free from insect blemishes. Similarly, ants, rodents, army worms, and other pests are known to greatly destroy crops making farmers incur losses hence need to be eliminated by use of pesticides. However, despite the fact that pesticides protect crops, they also negatively affect the environment through pollution. As pesticides are applied to crops to intentionally eliminate pests, they spread further beyond their intended target consequently causing harm to other living organisms through environmental pollution. Basing on their negative impacts that are far much greater than their benefits, use of pesticides in agriculture ought to be banned because their continued use is leading to increased chronic ailments among human beings, loss of essential plant nutrients in the soil, and global warming due to air pollution.

Since application of pesticides occurs in various dimension mainly through spraying on the leaves, stems, as well as roots, its effect on the environment are similarly diverse because pesticides spread in a wide range polluting the environment. As a result, use of pesticides pollutes the air, water, and the soil. For instance, spraying pesticides on the crops lead to a buildup of chemicals in the atmosphere causing air pollution. Once the air is contaminated by toxic components contained in pesticides, atmospheric life is negatively affected. Consequently, insects found in the air are unintentionally destroyed by pesticides, causing an imbalance in the ecosystem. In the same analogy, human beings contract respiratory diseases through inhalation of polluted air. Similarly, pesticides contain toxic chemicals especially the CFC gasses that cause greenhouse effects in the atmosphere thus causing damages to the ozone layer. Therefore, spraying pesticides directly to crops contributes to climate change given that any slight damage to the ozone layer regardless of its magnitude results to global warming.

Correspondingly, use of pesticides has caused pollution of water bodies leading to the destruction of aquatic life. More than often, pesticides have been used to destroy water hyacinth, a weed that negatively affects fish farming. However, the herbicide does not only kill the hyacinth but other aquatic creatures as well. In particular, toxic substances found in the herbicide interfere with oxygen circulation in the water leading to destruction of marine life hence reduction in fish production. Apart from aquatic life, terrestrial life is also affected by water pollution that results from use of pesticides because life depends on water. For example, wildlife and human beings depending on the polluted water are also affected because chemicals pose health complications to them. By drinking contaminated water, people contract long term illnesses that eventually lead to death. The same case applies to wildlife which is significantly reducing as a result of death from drinking polluted water. Fish production is also currently declining because water pollution hinders oxygen circulation in water causing the death of fish and other water organisms.

Apart from the air and water pollution, use of pesticides causes adverse effects to the soil. Among the leading causes of soil pollution, is the use of chemical pesticides. Even as pesticides are applied to the soil to kill pests, the chemicals do not spare soil micro-organisms that facilitate growth and survival of plants. For plants to attain maturity, they need soil organisms that are responsible for nitrogen and oxygen fixation. Unfortunately, these essential organisms are depleted by use of pesticides leaving crops to survive on their own. Notably, there arose a drastic change in soil health when farmers across the globe embraced pesticide technology. For example, when applied to the ground to eliminate pests, pesticides in turn damage agricultural land by causing harm to essential soil organisms which naturally limit the population of pests while maintaining the wellbeing of the earth. Similarly, pesticides reduce the concentration of plant nutrients for instance phosphorus as well as nitrogen consequently weakening plant root systems in addition to immune systems. Eventually, instead of increasing crop production, pesticides reduce crop production by diminishing soil nutrients responsible for plant growth. In essence, relying on pesticides takes farmers steps back from scratch regarding soil health.  When farms are depleted of their essential nutrients by toxic chemicals found in pesticides, food production is negatively affecting making farmers to incur more losses rather than profits.

If pesticides compromise the health of the soil, there is a likelihood that the nutritional value of the food produced on the same land will be compromised. the reason is that pesticides are transmitted to crops which if ingested results to health complications among human beings and animals. While pesticides are meant to destroy living organisms that are harmful to plants, they are however not supposed to penetrate human bodies the way they do. The US government for instance projects that level of trace minerals in fruits and vegetables dropped significantly between mid-20th century and late 20th century due to the widespread utilization of pesticides. It should be noted that pesticides not only destroy nutritional contents in agricultural food but contaminate it as well. Shockingly, researchers have often found residues of pesticides in human food including groceries, baby food, and cereals among others. When consumed, food containing traces of pesticides cause serious health effects to people. For example, according to The Pesticides Literature Review based on studies conducted by the multi-university research team in Toronto, it is concluded that people ought to reduce exposure to pesticides because serious illnesses are linked to usage of pesticides. Comparatively, the same study found out that serious health risks such as cancer, reproductive problems, and nervous system diseases are prevalent in people who are consistently exposed to pesticides. Similarly, remnants of pesticides have been found in the bloodstream of cancer patients. This is a clear indication that chronic ailments are currently on increase because of increased use of pesticide hence they need to be banned in order to reduce contraction of long-term diseases.

Since pesticides are known to disrupt the endocrine system through 2, 4D, and Atrazine chemicals, it is clear that pesticides are directly linked to hormone-dependent cancers particularly prostrate and breast cancer. Besides, similar research has associated exposure to pesticides to increased neurological disorders, childhood leukemia, asthma, lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease, among other chronic ailments. Children have lower immune levels because their immune system is not fully developed. As a result, exposing children to pesticides may lead to brain cancer, lymphoma and retarded growth due to children cannot fight toxic pesticides in their system. Apparently, it is evident that children living in the environments that are regularly exposed to pesticides are two times most likely to develop brain cancer as opposed to their counterparts living in pesticides free environment. Therefore, if allowed to continue being used by farmers, the future generation is at risk of more chronic health complication. Thus, to secure the future of tomorrow, farmers should depend on safe organic pesticides and reject toxic pesticides.

In the same fashion, inhaling pesticides leads to respiratory complications in both children and adults. As mentioned earlier, pesticides accumulate in the air long after their intended use. As they linger in the air, chemicals are in turn inhaled to the body’s respiratory system resulting in respiratory diseases like asthma. In the same analogy, direct contact between the skin and pesticides results to skin complications among them allergy and other types of sensitivity. Dermal absorption of pesticides is a common occurrence among users of pesticides who often are unaware of dangers they expose their skin to. For instance, skin and eye irritation, which can escalate into serious complications are among common long term effects of dermal pesticide exposure. However, short term effects include headache and nausea.

Apart from human beings, pesticides also threaten the existence of wildlife. Basing on its advantages in the ecosystem, wildlife is an important entity which ought to be preserved at all costs. Exposing wildlife to health risks may lead to the extinction of essential species hence causing more harm in the ecosystem. Among the leading causes of wildlife, destruction is the use of pesticides in agriculture. Notably, the commonly affected wildlife is insects which are primarily responsible for pollination. In the event that crops are sprayed with pesticides, pollinators are also destroyed by pesticides when they perch on the sprayed crops. To a larger degree, use of pesticides may eliminate or sicken wildlife. When dumped in water bodies with the aim to destroy weeds, wildlife that drinks from that particular water body are either killed or sickened hence reduction in their number. In the same way, animals feeding on crops sprayed by pesticides are most likely to contract diseases of even die from intoxication. In light of the above, utilization of pesticides should be avoided for the world to have a healthy wildlife and bring balance into the ecosystem.

By contrast, the world has undergone tremendous ecological change. Old methods of farming can no longer yield enough food the feed the current world populations. Therefore, agricultural technology and crop protection techniques such as pesticides application increase food production and act as a means to fighting food insecurity. Without applications of pesticides, most crops may not survive the ecological challenges that pesticides cause to plants. However, looking at the impending environmental challenges, it is clear that use of pesticides in agriculture must be terminated immediately. In other words, use of pesticides in agriculture is not beneficial as many people think. For instance, increasing agricultural yields at the expense of environmental pollution as well as health risks prove that toxic pesticides are not the best option for farmers. It is ridiculous to use pesticides with the intention of curbing aflatoxin, a carcinogen that is known to cause cancer in human beings while in a real sense pesticides are directly regarded as cancer causative agents when they come into contact with people be it through skin contact, inhalation, or ingestion. To limit the negative implication of pesticides, pesticides should be banned for agricultural purposes and instead replaced by organic pest control measures which are less harmful in all dimensions. The solution to farmers who worry that use of pesticides may negatively impact on agriculture and lead to low yields is use environmentally friendly insect control mechanisms such as biotechnologies. Biotechnologies involves use of natural organisms to attack and decapitate herbs and pests that affect crops.

Conclusion

Basing on the current trends in the technological world, it is clear that change of whatsoever kind is inevitable. The agricultural sector has not been spared from change because the ever increasing human population has exerted pressure on the industry regarding food demand as well as other agricultural products. To overcome the negative impacts of pesticide use, several innovations among them chemical pesticides have been invented to increase agricultural production. Since pesticides destroy pests hence leading to greater production of agricultural produce, pesticides are not meant to interfere with environmental processes because they possess toxic substances which are unfriendly to the environment. However, when applied, it is impossible to limit the spread of pesticides in the environment hence pollution is unavoidable. As a result, instead of eliminating pests, pesticides go a step ahead to affect other living organisms. In this light, despite the fact that pesticides enhance agricultural productivity, they release toxins and cause adverse impacts on the environment. Instead of targeting pests, pesticides go an inch higher and extend their effects to non-targeted areas causing serious implication to the soil, atmosphere, air, and eventually to human beings as well as other living organisms. If not controlled, use of pesticides will continue to affect the environment, and people will continue to suffer from preventable diseases. Similarly, the world will increasingly experience the effects of greenhouses gasses. Therefore, to get rid of these effects, pesticide use in agriculture should be replaced by alternative pest control measures through imposing a ban to chemical pesticides.

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