Adverse Effects of Insecticides and Pesticides on our Environment!
The excessive use of chemical pesticides and insecticides has resulted in degradation of environment, which has become a threat to human health.
Throughout the ages, farmers have had difficulty in protecting their crops from small animals and disease organisms. At times, pest species have boomed and brought disease and famine. But, most of the time, natural balance has been maintained, and humans have lived together with insects in reasonable harmony.
Nowadays, a great debate over the use and misuse of insecticides in agriculture is going on. On the one hand, scientists claim that more production can only be possible through control over pests and weeds, while on the other hand, they disagree and feel that chemical pesticides are harmful to the environment and actually increase pest problems.
The modern pesticide era started in about 1940 when a chemical called DDT was discovered to be a potent insecticide. DDT was cheaper and more effective than the previously known chemicals and led to dramatic early successes. But this miracle chemical had fallen from grace and on 1 January 1973, all inter-state sale and transport of DDT was banned in the USA, ban was also imposed on several other pesticides like aldrin, clieldrin, etc.
Most of the insecticides are broad spectrum poisons and their use has led to disruption of ecosystems. Because these materials are not biodegradable, they persist for long periods in the environment. In some soils DDT and aldrin have been detected 15 years after a single spray application. Such persistence leads to a series of several ecological problems.
All insecticides have had adverse impact on human health and since the mid-1940s, many thousands of people have been sickened or have died from severe pesticide poisoning every year.
Although the use of DDT in the US and other developed countries, was banned in 1973, it is still being manufactured and exported for use in other countries, especially to Third World countries. Thus, long-term global contamination continues. What is needed is the use of organic fertilisers and natural system of control through certain bacteria. Pests can be controlled without killing them directly.
There is a need for integrated pest management and to evolve scientific methods to control pests and weeds without adverse effects on ecosystem. In addition, government restrictions may serve as a drive to develop other, more environmentally sound methods of pest control.