Pesticides are chemicals used to combat pests like fungicides, herbicides, insecticides among others. Farmers use pesticides to protect food crops, plants, trees and increase farm produce. Public health use pesticides to kill various diseases.
Some of the chemicals contained in the pesticides contain some toxic compounds which when ingested can cause death to humans. Let’s look at the pros and cons of using pesticides.
1. Availability: They are easily available and you can buy them from any local store and some in supermarkets. There are a variety of pesticides in the market making them more affordable.
2. Enough food supply: Since pesticides are used to kill pests and other organisms that eat crops, farmers are able to harvest more food crops thus, increasing their productivity.
3. Pest eradication: Pesticides help kill unwanted pests that destroy crops and plants. You can also use pesticides to kill some species that affect forests and trees.
4. Reduce food cost: Pesticides have led to the reduced cost of production and reduced prices of products. Pesticides reduce losses on food crops and increase harvesting of the farm produce thus, making it easier for farmers to lower the prices of products.
5. Cost-effective: Pesticides are a cheaper way to prevent crops damage control the spread of pests in your garden.
6. Safe: We have different types of pesticides in the market and some of them have environmentally-friendly herbicides which are less harmful. There are no toxic chemicals found in the pesticides making them safe.
7. Save lives: Spraying pesticides save millions of lives from insect-transmitted diseases like Malaria, sleeping sickness, Yellow fever, and typhoid.
8. Conserve the environment: It helps reduce deforestation, curb soil erosion and conserve natural resources by enabling to farmers produce more crops per unit area with less tillage in the area.
9. Secure food storage: After harvesting crops, pesticides are used to control molds and rodents in stored products. This extends the product life and prevents huge losses.
10. Increase food production: Crop protection has enabled transformed farmers in developing countries to be food producers by growing two to three crops per year.
1. Environmental threat: Fipronil and neonicotinoids chemicals contained in the pesticides can result in environmental pollution. The chemicals can affect wildlife and plant tissue like the roots, flowers, and nectar.
2. Accidental ingestion: If humans ingest the chemicals in pesticides, they can be harmful to their health and even cause death. Farmers should be careful when using them and always wear gloves and wash hands after use.
3. Food poisoning: The water used in pesticides can be contaminated with viruses and other pathogens and when ingested, they can lead to food poisoning.
4. Groundwater contamination: Continuous use of some high dosage chemical products in pesticides leads to groundwater contamination.
5. Reduce the number of pollinators: Pesticides affect bees and butterfly pollinators reducing their number. This leads to the unstable supply of fruits, vegetables, and seeds since some of them rely on animal pollination.
6. Reduction of beneficial species: Pesticides affect non-target organisms and other parasites essential for crops growth. It changes the natural system and biological balance in the crops.
7. Genetic resistance: Continuous use of pesticides in a particular area will make the pests adapt to the environment and they will be resistant to the pesticide. This forces farmers to use strong chemicals which are more harmful.
8. Bioaccumulation: Synthetic pesticides cannot be broken down and are permanently stored in plants or organisms resulting in bioaccumulation. When bees and other animals feed on the plants, these pesticides are transferred to them.
9. Acute effects: It can cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and headaches to those handling the pesticides.
10. Risk of cancer: Pesticides expose farmers to the risk of cancer. Exposure to insecticides at home and other herbicides leads to an increased risk of blood cancer among children.