Authors: Dr. P. Sivasubramanian, Sheela Venugopal
Agrochemicals mainly include: (1) fertilizers, (2) pesticides, (3) herbicides, and (4) fungicides. The use of agrochemicals has been critical to the raising crops for food. However, some of these chemicals cause substantial environmental and ecological damage, greatly reducing their benefits. Excessive use of fertilizers has led to the contamination of groundwater with nitrate, a chemical compound that in large concentrations is poisonous to humans and animals. In addition, the runoff of fertilizers into streams, lakes, and other surface waters can increase the growth of algae, leading to the death of fish and other aquatic animals. Some older pesticides, like the powerful insecticide DDT, remain active in the environment for many years, contaminating virtually all wildlife, well water, food, and even humans with whom it comes in contact. Although many of these pesticides have been banned, some newer pesticides still
cause severe damage. The knowledge of these impacts has prompted researchers to search for non chemical methods of enhancing soil fertility and dealing with pests. This article would update the deleterious effects of these chemicals on biota viz., plants, earthworms and soil microflora, honey bees, natural enemies of insect pests, birds, marine fauna, wildlife and human beings and thus create concern over the conservation of the planets’ biodiversity.
Keywords: fertilizer; pesticides; biodiversity; pollination; shell thinning; bioaccumulation