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Pesticide Pollution

Lack of Concern:

Huge quantities of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides are used across the world and most of them go onto crops grown as fodder for farmed animals.

Dousing the land with these chemicals is destroying its fertility and causing the soil structure to break down. Eventually it produces less and this has the same effect as reducing the amount of agricultural land. It's obviously self-defeating, but that fact doesn't seem to worry either the government or most farmers.

 

Organs of Destruction:

It's true that pesticide used has gone down a little in EU but still several hundred different pesticides are being used in agriculture around the world.

The two most important groups are organochlorine and organophosphorous compounds. They can contaminate soil, water and air and disrupt ecosystems as welll as poisoning plants and creatures that were not the intended targets.

In the wild, tiny creatures get eaten by slightly bigger creatures, these get eaten by even bigger creatures and so it goes on up the food chain. It's called biomagnification and describes how residues of pesticides get more and more concentrated the higher up the food chain you go until it reaches the top predators - and humans.

 

Agent Orange:

The result can be cancers, tumours and lesions; immune and endocrine systems can be distrupted and babies can be bron with birth defects. Agent Orange was an organochlorine herbicide used by the US military to strip the leaves of trees during the Vietnam war. It has resulted in a staggering number of all these human tragedies.

In Germany it was found that areas close to farms using pesticides had up to six-times fewer species of plants and animals (biodiversity) than nearby organic farms.

 

It's War:

What amounts to almost out and out chemical warfare has led to 4.5 billion litres of pesticides being sprayed onto UK land every year.

Heavy metals are another environmental problem and are fed to livestock in small quantities to help prevent certain diseases aor to make the animals g row faster. They include copper, zinc, selenium, cobalt, arsenic, iron and manganese.

Animals absorb only five to 15 per cent of those they ingest and the remainder is excreted into the environment.