Pesticide use surges six-fold
A press conference titled "Pesticides and Health Risk: Find Alternatives and Save the Lives of Rural Women" held at the capital's Jatiya Press Club recently revealed some startling facts. The use of pesticides in agriculture in the country has increased a staggering six-fold in the last six decades. Only four percent of farmers are reportedly aware of methods of pesticide usage while 87 percent of farmers barely take any measures to prevent the harmful effects of pesticides.
Needless to say such practices have detrimental consequences for the overall health of the current and coming generations. Excessive use of pesticides can pose a wide range of health hazards, from short-term impacts such as nausea to chronic diseases such as cancer and endocrine disruption. Rural women in particular, who often come in direct contact with pesticides for agricultural purposes, are vulnerable to health risks such as miscarriage and giving birth to infants with birth defects. Adverse effects of pesticides, of course, extend to the environment as well.
The fact that as many as 377 types of pesticides -- most of them already banned in developed countries -- are currently in use nationwide points to the urgency of tackling the scourge of its unrestrained use. Government intervention to root out the primary source of contamination of water, food and soil is crucial. It is also imperative that farmers' level of awareness is raised to reduce pesticide risk, and indigenous methods and other sustainable alternatives are promoted to curb the burgeoning use of pesticide. Special heed needs to be given to the production of innovative agricultural techniques which can play an important role in eliminating the unintended consequences of chemical-based agriculture.