Pesticides are the only toxic substances released intentionally into environment to kill living things. This includes substances that kill weeds (herbicides), insects (insecticides), fungus (fungicides), rodents (rodenticides), and others. Managing pest problems with the use of toxic pesticides has become a common practice around the world. Pesticides are used almost everywhere — not only in agricultural fields, but also in homes, parks, schools, buildings, forests, and roads. Pesticides can be found in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. Pesticides have been linked to a wide range of human health hazards, ranging from short-term impacts such as headaches and nausea to chronic impacts like cancer, reproductive harm, and endocrine disruption. In developing countries including Pakistan, where pesticide regulation is much less developed and GM production is increasing, the environmental consequences are likely to be more serious. Though the adoption of genetically modified (GM) crops normally reduces the cost of pest management luring the farmers, yet the experiment of GM crops especially wheat and cotton being done in Pakistan for the last several years has so far failed to yield the desired results. Use of low quality pesticides as well as their improper or excessive use would not only compromise the quality of crop but also cause several human health diseases besides leaving negative impacts on environment and biodiversity. Acute dangers – such as nerve, skin, and eye irritation and damage, headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and systemic poisoning – can sometimes be dramatic, and even occasionally fatal. Some of the most prevalent forms of cancer, due to human exposure to pesticides, include leukemia, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, brain, bone, breast, ovarian, prostate, testicular and liver cancers. The real solution to our pest and weed problems lies in non-toxic and cultural methods of agriculture, not in pulling the pesticide trigger. Organically grown foods and sustainable methods of pest control are the key to protecting human health and the health of the environment. The government should take tangible initiatives to ensure that state and federal agencies put in place stricter independent testing, including testing of synergistic effects of pesticides. Since about 70 per cent of Pakistans population is engaged with agriculture activities, the relevant authorities need to provide technical assistance to farmers, local governments, businesses, and homeowners on non-toxic alternatives to pesticide use. All this can be effective initiatives to ensure sustainability of human health, biodiversity and environment, however, it all depends on the seriousness on the part of government.
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