Pesticides are being used at a large scale in Pakistan’s agriculture sector to control pests or weeds. These are very dangerous and harmful to human health. According to UN report, an average of about 200,000 people die from the toxic exposure of pesticides per year across the world, having disastrous impacts on human health and the environment.

Pesticides can save farmers money by preventing crop losses to insects and other pests at primarily level but its secondary benefits are effects that are more long-term. Equally, increased food production has not succeeded in eliminating hunger worldwide. Dependence on hazardous pesticides is a short-term solution that damages the rights to sufficient food and health for present and future generations. Pesticides may cause acute and delayed health effects in people who are exposed.

There are serious illnesses and health issues with suspected links to pesticides, including cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, hormone disruption, birth defects, sterility, and neurological effects. Pesticides also have adverse effects on the environment. They are one of the causes of water pollution, and some pesticides are persistent organic pollutants and contribute to soil contamination. Pesticides sprayed on crops frequently pollute the surrounding ecosystem and beyond, with unpredictable ecological consequences. Moreover, reductions in pest populations upset the complex balance between predator and prey species in the food chain.

There is a dire need to create awareness among agriculturists, farmers and the common people to avail alternatives to pesticides. They would have to adopt methods of cultivation in which included the biological pest controls such as pheromones and microbial pesticides, genetic engineering, and methods of interfering with insects breeding. Alternatives to pesticides can be equally effective as the use of chemicals.

ENGR. MANSOOR AHMED,

Faisalabad, March 22.