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Agricultural pollution - Research Paper Example

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Agricultural pollution is often thought of as something that affects only the rural areas or the crops on the farm and the people who grow them.However,agricultural pollution is the one reason why large tracts of land become unusable after some time,why certain groups of organisms die from lack of plant food…
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Download file to see previous pages Agricultural pollution is often thought of as something that affects only the rural areas or the crops on the farm and the people who grow them.However,agricultural pollution is the one reason why large tracts of land become unusable after some time,why certain groups of organisms die from lack of plant food Agricultural pollution is usually caused by monoculture of plants as well as other wasteful and faulty farming methods that usually lead to the destruction of the soil, the excessive use of insecticides and the exposure of humans to any of the chemicals used on the farm. Agricultural pollution damages not only the ecosystem but also human health, and the solution to this problem is a combination of methods from the joint efforts of individuals, social organizations and the government. Problems There has been much evidence which shows that the problems in the United States concerning agricultural pollution are actually brought about by the very nature of the structure of American farms as well as the nature of the prevailing government policies concerning agricultural lands and farming. Such policies actually favor large farm size and, more importantly, crop monocultures. It is there monocultures, especially corn monocultures, which cause the greatest harm to agricultural lands. As imperatives to diversify crops disappear from the context of American agriculture, what is slowly replacing this is the reward for monoculture, resulting in a lack of rotation and eventually leading to a high degree of vulnerability of the agroecosystem to high inputs of harmful chemicals (Altieri, 2000). The chemicals used in very large farms where monoculture is practiced are actually the ones that become pollutants to the agricultural lands (Altieri, 2000). The explanation is pretty simple. If there is only one type or two types of crops used on a farm, then it is inevitable that pests would easily build up on this type of crops because it would be easy for them to adapt to them. Moreover, considering that the farms on which a single type of crop is planted are large farms, then the attack of pests is also on a wide scale basis. Thus, a large number of pests would also require a large amount of pesticide. The nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus contents of these pesticides are actually the ones responsible for the pollution of the farm itself, of its soil and of the nearby water reserve systems. Moreover, one variety of corn, the genetically engineered Bt corn, may have reduced the number of pests that infest it thus reducing the amount of pesticide as well, but the treatment of the Bt corn seed using neonicotinoid insecticides has become the issue instead. According to a 2012 report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, these neonicotinoid insecticides are responsible for the collapse of honeybee colonies and other cases of mortality concerning other species of bees. The real problem with this is that “35 percent of U.S. crops rely on bees and other pollinators to be productive” (Expanding Monoculture, 2012). Thus, even if such a genetically modified crop such as Bt corn is planted to offset the usual pests that bother traditional corn crops, there will still be problems concerning the type of chemical used to treat this genetically modified crop. As always, it is clearly evident that there is always a problem with monoculture. As implied from the previously stated information, the planting of Bt corn can eventually even prove to be extremely harmful to the planting of all other agricultural crops (Expanding Monoculture, 2012). Another problem concerning agricultural pollution is the use of new types of herbicides. Some large-scale farmers decide to use genetically engineered crops that are herbicide-tolerant, especially those that are resistant to 2,4-D and dicamba, which are two of the oldest known herbicides. Thus, considering the resistance of crops to these ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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