Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pests (including weeds). In general, a pesticide is a chemical or biological agent (such as a virus, bacterium, or fungus) that deters, incapacitates, kills, or otherwise discourages pests.
Pesticides’ Primary benefits:
1. Controlling pests and plant disease vectors in seeking to improve crop/livestock yields and quality.
2. Controlling organisms that harm other human activities and structures.
Pesticides may cause acute and delayed health effects in people who are exposed. Pesticide exposure can cause a variety of adverse health effects, ranging from simple irritation of the skin and eyes to more severe effects such as affecting the nervous system, causing reproductive problems, and also causing cancer.
Pesticide use raises a number of environmental concerns. Over 98% of sprayed insecticides and 95% of herbicides reach a destination other than their target species, including non-target species, air, water and soil. Pesticide drift occurs when pesticides suspended in the air as particles are carried by wind to other areas, potentially contaminating them. Pesticides are one of the causes of water pollution, and some pesticides contribute to soil contamination.
In addition, pesticide use reduces biodiversity, destroys habitat especially for birds, and threatens endangered species.