I started last week with my articles about the dangers that people need to know about tea growing such that there is clarity in venturing into the project today i go to explain the dangers of the pesticides used in this system.
Like any intensive monocropping, tea farming to generate those million tons of dried plant material each year means a great deal of land is utilized for growing it. As demand increases, so does the amount of land required. The massive alteration of habitats for farming tea means some plant and animal species native to that area suffer and it’s this desperate need that then farmers start using fertilisers and pesticides to meet the demand.
It must be noted that environmental impact of pesticides consists of the effects of pesticides on non-target species. This means that the pesticides used affect both the plants in the wild and the domesticated ones because its estimated that Over 98% of sprayed insecticides and 95% of herbicides reach a destination other than their target species, because they are sprayed or spread across entire agricultural fields.
Runoff can carry pesticides into aquatic environments while wind can carry them to other fields, grazing areas, human settlements and undeveloped areas, potentially affecting other species. Other problems emerge from poor production, transport and storage practices. Over time, repeated application increases pest resistance, while its effects on other species can facilitate the pest’s resurgence.
Additionally, pesticides and artificial fertilizers are often used in tea plantations to restore nutrients used by the tea bush and to fend off parasites. The resulting soil degradation is a major issue, one usually addressed by using even more fertilizer and chemicals that further compounds the soil degradation problem.
With our rich biodiversity in our waters it must be noted that Chemical runoff into waterways can also be a problem. The biggest issue facing the use of chemical fertilizers is groundwater contamination. Nitorgen fertilizers break down into nitrates and travel easily through the soil. Because it is water-soluble and can remain in groundwater for decades, the addition of more nitrogen over the years has an accumulative effect on the contamination of our waters.
Some one popular fertilizer, urea, produces ammonia emanation, contributes to acid rain, groundwater contamination and ozone depletion due to release of nitrous oxide by denitrification process. With its increased use and projections of future use, this problem may increase several fold in the coming decades and the increased growing of tea will bring about such hazards not only to the growing areas but the first ones to suffer will be these same areas
Groundwater contamination has been linked to gastric cancer, goitre, birth malformations, and hypertension; testicular cancer and stomach cancer which are all dangerous to human health.
Excessive air- and water-borne nitrogen from fertilizers may cause respiratory ailments, cardiac disease, and several cancers, as well as can “inhibit crop growth, increase allergenic pollen production, and potentially affect the dynamics of several vector-borne diseases, including West Nile virus, malaria, and cholera.”
Perhaps one of the scariest effects of chemical fertilizers is something called methemoglobinemia. In infants it is alternatively known as Blue Baby Syndrome. The risk most often occurs when infants are given formula reconstituted with nitrate contaminated water. The condition causes a decrease in oxygen in the blood and results in a blue-grey skin colour, causes lethargy and/or irritability and can lead to coma or death.7 I’ve been unable to find whether the same risk exists for breastfeeding babies whose mothers drank contaminated water.
Nitrogen groundwater contamination also contributes to marine “dead zones”. The increase in the water-soluble nitrates creates an influx of plant-life, which eats up oxygen and starves out fish and crustaceans. This has an impact not only on the aquatic ecosystem, but on local societies who depend on food sourced from those areas.
Pesticides have been linked with deleterious effects on human health and that of the environment. Children exposed to pesticides have increased rates of leukaemia and brain cancer, and pregnant women with exposure have higher miscarriage rates, according to the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. Pesticides may also damage the lungs and nervous system. In nature, pesticides pollute the air, water and ground. As a result, plant and animal life may die or become sick and malformed
Phosphorus from fertilizer can cause algae to accumulate in lakes and ponds, killing fish by robbing them of oxygen. Fertilizers can also contaminate water with an overabundance of phosphates and nitrates, making it unsafe for consumption. Oxidized nitrogen, a by-product of synthetic fertilizers, also increases smog, which may be related to higher incidence of respiratory illness and asthma.
These fertilisers I mention above are commonly used in tea growing I therefore think before they are used people come out and read about this important note to consider our living today and tomorrow.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s