Pesticides are chemicals used in agriculture sector to destroy different unwanted agents which might reduce the output or destroy crops such as fungi, weeds and insects.
Pesticide is a broader term which contain insectide, acaricides , weedicides , nematicide, fungicide and rodenticide. Nowadays pesticides are of great concern due to toxic nature and widespread use.
According to WHO report, Global poisoning cases of pesticides have been uplifted in developing countries from 10-14 million people. The largest part of pesticide applied fall in two categories moderate poisonous (35%) and highly poisonous (34.2%). Inappropriate technology, application and knowledge are major causes of pesticide intoxication.
Approximately 58% farmers have reasonable knowledge regarding pesticides, just 16% farmers are trained about the pesticide use and about 13% have related information. Global consumption of pesticides per annum is 5.6 billon pounds approximately.
Nowadays 108 types of insectides,39 types of weedicides,30 types of fungicides 6 types of rodenticides and 5 types of acaricides are used in Pakistan.
Pesticide utilization was 1169% increased within last 20 years which has become alarming situation for country like Pakistan which already facing environmental hazards. During application 2% of the sprayed pesticide are volatilized into the atmosphere and cause acid rain.
These applied pesticides are persistent in soil and their residues remain in soil year after year. Plants up take nutrients and water from soil and transport into the whole body. These pesticide doses not only disturbing underground beneficial microbes but also contaminating drinking water and food chain.
Residues of pesticides are reported in feed, cottonseed, vegetables, fresh meal and fruits that’s why Pakistan has more pesticides poisoning cases than the rest of the world. According to the FAO 80% of the food in developing countries contain pesticide residues.
In cotton areas of Pakistan, women are more affected by pesticides because 90% picking of cotton in is done by women. In addition to issues of health in cotton field headache (26%) skin irritation (27%) and nausea 12% are also reported.
Spreading of cancer in humans is due to the high potential of pesticides. Round about 98% cancer cases and health patients contains adequate concentration of Organon chlorine in their blood serum.
There are some strategies through which pesticides contamination can be reduced; first of all strict planning of government and regulation regarding pesticide production, distribution and farmers access to the pesticide and effective services of extension and training facilities regarding pesticide application , storage, utilization and handling.
Second most important thing is to adopt different techniques to overcome the use of pesticides like physical control by removing, setting up the barriers and by tillage practices, cultural control by crop rotation, removing crop debris and intercropping and biological control by the use of natural parasites, predators, site specific application of pesticides and use of biopesticides (microbes based or natural) or allelopatic extracts of plant.
World is moving again towards organic farming, although it is difficult in Pakistan to adopt organic farming immediately, but integrated approach can be adopted in which balance use of chemicals and organic sources to control weeds, insects and harmful pest in agriculture.
Authors: Muhammad Adnan, Dr. Mubashar Nadeem and Mubahsir Hussain