As insects, fungi and animals are a constant threat to crop yields, the increased use of organic pesticides seems inevitable. Organic pesticides are often applied to fruit and vegetables before and after harvesting, which can then be found in water sources via run-off from agricultural land as well as on the land and the crop itself. Drinking water limits and food Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) are set at very low limits to avoid risk of toxicity to humans and animals.
How do pesticides pollute our water?
There are four major ways that pesticides can affect water supplies and aquatic life, Drift (air), Leaching (via the water table), Run-off (from agricultural land into rivers) and from Spillages. As water is a fundamental part of life, most countries have a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCLs) for water. MCLs are acceptable limits set for human consumption ensuring minimal impact to humans and aquatic life.
What effects do pesticides have on soil?
Various chemicals are used in pesticides and can have an adverse effect on soil. The general use of pesticides over a long period of time can result in persistent contaminants being present. A lack of degradation of these chemicals can have a drastic effect on the quality of soils, in turn producing poor crop yields and, dependent on the pesticide types, can also have a serious effect on non-targeted species.
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