Excessive Use Of Pesticides Poses Serious Risks To Human Health

The women workers are more vulnerable to pesticide risks than men because they are more frail and have lower immunity levels than men.

Excessive Use Of Pesticides Poses Serious Risks To Human Health

Overuse of pesticides and insecticides in agriculture poses serious risks to soil fertility, human health, and the environment in South Punjab, the nation’s agricultural centre and primary source of food.

Since 70% of South Punjab’s population lives in rural areas and the majority of them are employed directly in the agricultural sector, both male and female field workers are typically exposed to this phenomenon.

Around five million farmers, the majority of whom are women, are known to work in agriculture fields to assist their men and eke out a living in order to combat extreme poverty, according to the South Punjab Agriculture Secretariat.

These women workers are more vulnerable to pesticide risks than men because they are more frail and have lower immunity levels than men. The results of a survey and lab analysis carried out a few months ago by the Agriculture Secretariat of South Punjab to ascertain the presence of chemical pesticide residue in cotton fields were alarming.

After analysis at the Chemical Pesticide Residue Lab in Kala Shah Kaku revealed the presence of a significant amount of triazophos and gamma-cyhalothrin in samples, three parts of cotton bolls (peel, lint, and seed) were collected from the pesticide usage fields.

According to European standards, the permissible residue limit for the pesticide Triazophos should be 0.01 mg/kg, but in Multan’s sample, it was 20.34 mg/kg, in addition to the significant amounts of Gamma-cyhalothrin present.

Medical professionals observe the deadly effects on people exposed to pesticides and insecticides, fearing these individuals will experience unconsciousness, lung and liver complications, and cancer if the disease becomes chronic.

According to Dr. Waqas Arqam, “acute and chronic complications are emerging from excessive use of chemical pesticides.” When the condition is acute, farmers who are spraying or who are visiting farms soon after spraying pass out. They experience cancer, liver and lung issues, and other fatal diseases in their chronic form.

He claimed that during the cotton season, a sizable number of patients affected by pesticides are brought to emergency rooms. Contact dermatitis brought on by overuse of chemical pesticides can result in many different complications, including bleeding, infection, and itching.

He claimed that after prolonged exposure to pesticides, residues begin to build up in their bodies, and at a certain level of accumulation, these residues cause cancer, liver problems, and infertility, particularly in female farmers. “Occasionally, this poison enters their stomachs when they eat with dirty hands,”

Women are more susceptible to this phenomenon, which can cause infertility, skin problems, liver and breast cancer, stunted growth, and other problems, according to Dr. Waqas.

He urged the agricultural department to educate farmers on the safer application of pesticides and, if practical, to switch to bio-pesticides to protect crops and people from toxic pesticides.

Despite the fact that many farmers are switching to bio-pesticides as part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan and that the Central Cotton Research Institute (CCRI) has developed a cotton picker machine, these practises are not very widespread, and a large number of low-wage workers are still at risk for health problems.

A progressive farmer from Nawabpur, Malik Arif, stated, “Relentless use of chemical pesticides was damaging human health, land fertility, and the environment as a whole.” “The cotton picker can be used only on thick cotton crops, and we have not yet adopted this culture in our agriculture.”

In order to protect human health and preserve the fertility of the land, he advised expanding the use of biopesticides while reducing the use of chemical pesticides.

He said, “The South Punjab Agriculture Secretariat is making an excellent effort to promote the use of biopesticides and to encourage farmers to choose them under the Integrated Pest Management model.”

He claimed that when used on almost 500 plots, the IPM model continued to be effective at ensuring health security, reducing input costs, and increasing productivity. But if it reaches all farmers, it might be more helpful.

He claimed that farmers could make bio-pesticides by soaking certain plants—including the neem tree, aak, kortuma, tobacco, and moringa—in a specific amount of water for 10 hours before boiling them. More water can be added to it after boiling, and the spray is ready for crops .

Muhammad Afzal is a progressive farmer who grows crops without using chemical pesticides on 70 acres and produces well.

The fertility of my land had improved thanks to biopesticides and biofertilizers. “By using these products, I get the same amount of produce as people who use chemical pesticides,” he claimed. “Some farmers rush for outcomes. However, if they are consistent, they can gradually increase production at a low cost.

He also advocated for a vigorous campaign to support organic farming and the use of biopesticides.

A representative of the agriculture department named Dr. Ameen mentioned initiatives being taken to encourage the use of organic pesticides. “This method of pest control is less expensive.” However, the farmers are hesitant to choose it because they want improved production and quick results.

He regretted the negative effects that excessive pesticide and fertiliser use has on both the health of humans and non-target organisms like pollinators, parasitoids, predators, and wild animals. These residues are left in the soil, water, and air.

In this situation, it is imperative to foster a culture of healthy farming in order to safeguard our future generations and the environment.