Use of pesticides
There are many effects that use of pesticides has to the environment. According to studies, 98 percent of insecticide which is sprayed and 95 percent of the herbicide do not reach the destination in which they are intended to. Most of the pesticides reach non targeted destination such as the air, water, foods and bottom sediments. The pesticides lead to contamination of land and water when it is discarded or sprayed in the air. It also contaminates the air and water when they run off the fields in which they are sprayed or when they are put in water to in order to kill algae.
The effects of pesticides is depends on the chemical properties that are found in the pesticides. This depends on the vapour pressure of the pesticides, its solubility, and the resistance that the pesticide to be broken down. There are also factors in the soil, for example, water retention, texture, and the its organic matter component also have effect on the rate by which the pesticide leave the intended area. Pesticides contribute greatly to ozone layer depletion and contributes to global warming (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development pg 179-180). Pesticides contribute greatly to air pollution.
There is pesticide drift, which occur when the pesticides, which suspends in the air are carried by wind to other areas leading to contamination. Pesticides, which are applied on crops usually, volatilize and they are blown by winds to nearby environment. This poses a threat to wildlife and other species that are alive. It is recommended that farmers should use ground spraying because this produces less pesticide drift than aerial spraying. People should use buffer zones around their crops, which has empty land or may have non crop plants, for example, evergreen trees that serve as windbreakers (Wheeler pg 165-167).
They assist in absorbing pesticides preventing it from drifting to other areas. Government in various countries should come up with policies, which require their people to have windbreakers in their farms so, that to reduce the effects of the pesticides, which they use in their farms from spreading to other areas. Some other pesticides, which are used in the fields and those, used to fumigate soil gives off chemicals, which are known as volatile organic compounds, which react with other chemicals in the air leading to depletion of the ozone layer. Pesticides also act as a major cause of water pollution.
According to a study by United States Geological Survey revealed that pesticides pollutes every stream and more than 90 percent of wells, which were sampled in the study. There are also pesticides residues, which are found in ground water and rain. Another study by United Kingdom government revealed that the concentration of pesticides in water exceeds the one allowed for water that is meant for drinking in many river and ground water. Pesticides also affect the aquatic system leading to death of many species that thrive in the waters. There are various ways in which pesticides reach water.
In most cases when the pesticides are sprayed they drift outside of the area they are intended or it may percolate, leach through the soil or in most cases the pesticides are carried by water as run off or may be spilled into the water by mistake or through neglect. Pesticides are also to the water by eroding soil. There are factors which affects the pesticide ability to cause contamination to the water.. For example, solubility of the water, the type of soil, weather and the method that is used in the application of the pesticides (Larson & Majewski pg 278-280).
In order to control water pollution by use of pesticides there are protective measures that are put by governments in various countries to control the maximum limits of the allowable concentration for individual pesticides in public water bodies. For example, in the United States of America there is the Environment Protection Agency, which sets the maximum limits. Pesticides also pollutes the soil. This is because most chemicals used in the manufacture of pesticides leads to contamination of the soil.
The effects of the pesticides to the soil usually endure for many years and have great effect to the conservation of soil. The use of the pesticides affects to the soil as they decrease the general biodiversity in the soil. It is important that people should reduce the use of pesticides, which have those chemicals, which reduce the quality of the soil. By not using such chemicals leads to higher quality of the soil. People should add more organic matter into the soil, which allows the soil to have higher water retention.
This would help to increase yield from the soil even in drought years. The organic matters also help in the breakage of pesticides thus reducing the chances of the pesticides leaving the soil to cause contamination in other areas (Wheeler pg 165-167). There are also effects that pesticides cause to plants. Pesticides hinder nitrogen fixation, which is a ver important process, required in growth of higher plants. Reduced nitrogen fixation reduces crop yields. Pesticides are also known to contribute to death of bees, which contribute to pollination of many species of plants.
The pesticides affect these species by the mechanism of Colony Collapse Disorder in which the worker bees, which are involved in the pollination, process are killed abruptly by pesticides applied in the plants. It is estimated that farmers in the United States of America loss millions of dollars as a result of reduced pollination because pesticides which are applied on crops eliminates more than 20 percent of honey bee colonies. Countries should establish Biodiversity action plans to discourage the use of pesticides because of their effects to the biota.
Animals are poisoned by residuals left by pesticides, which remain, on food after spraying. For example when people eat fruits just after being sprayed or wild animals, which eat sprayed plants in fields. Application of pesticides extensively can make some food sources to be eliminated. This causes animals to relocate and leads to starvation to the animals. Poisoning as a result of pesticides can also affect the food chain, for example, birds can be affected by eating insects and worms, which have taken pesticides from plants.
The extensive use off pesticide is acting as way that many species are becoming endangered and their existence threatened. Aquatic life is also affected by pesticides, which leads to contamination of the water. The pesticides lead to death of many living organisms that are found in the water. Some pesticides such as copper sulfite are poisonous to plants and other animals that are found in the waters. More exposure to pesticides also leads to cause change in the physiological and behavioral changes in animals in water, for example, fish which leads to decrease in their population.
This pesticide also leads to decrease in their immunity to disease and leads to decreased defense to their predators. Herbicides applied to water bodies also leads to destruction of habitats of animals, which live in waters (Dikshith pg 231-235). Human beings are also affected by inhalation of aerosols and other particles, which contain pesticides. Human beings come into contact with these particles through oral exposure by consumption of water and food contaminated with pesticides. . They are also affected through dermal exposure through direct contact of pesticide with skin.
The harm caused by pesticides on human beings depends on the toxicity of the chemicals used in the pesticides and the length of the exposure to the chemicals. Effects of pesticides can cause irritation on the skin, tumors, genetic problems, disruption of the endocrine and nerve and blood disorders. (Dikshith pg 231-235). Many alternatives are available to reduce the environmental effects of pesticides. Examples of the alternatives include manual removal of pest and weeds from the plants. There is also the application of heat, plastic covering of the weeds and the traditional methods of using traps and lures to move and catch the pests.
Other methods of preventing pests include removal of the breeding sites of pests and the planting of more pest resistance plants. There is also the use of biocontrol agents for example pest eating organisms. It should be noted that elimination of pesticides does not mean reduction of yields Organic agriculture is more recommended as it produces the same yields as the convectional agriculture. One of its advantages is that it requires lower inputs and enables healthier soils, which allow healthier plants. Work cited Dikshith, T. S.
Toxicology of pesticides in animals, New York, CRC Press, 1991. Joo Sung & Cheng Francis. Nanotechnology for environmental remediation, 1st edition, Auburn, Birkhauser, 2006. Larson Steven & Majewski Michael. Pesticides in surface waters: distribution, trends, and Governing factors, Vol 3, New York, CRC Press, 1997. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The State of the environment, 3rd edition, Paris, OECD Publishing, 1991. Wheeler Willis. Pesticides in agriculture and the environment, New York, CRC Press, 2002.Sample Essay of PapersOwl.com