Environment Protection for sustainability

  • Understand bad effects/impact of using chemical fertiliser pesticides, weedicides, etc.

  • Collect information about it and make a verbal report to the Scout Leader

  • Understand the basics of making a compost pit in school or at home

  • Plant a tree, maintain and protect it. Use the compost made by the Scout for this plant

What is a Pesticide?

A pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.

What are Weedicides?

Weeds are unwanted plants growing among wanted crops and compete with crop plants for sunlight, nutrients, water etc. Weedicides are the chemicals which are sprayed over the fields to get rid of weeds.

Pesticides and human health:

Pesticides can cause short-term adverse health effects, called acute effects, as well as chronic adverse effects that can occur months or years after exposure. Examples of acute health effects include stinging eyes, rashes, blisters, blindness, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea and death. Examples of known chronic effects are cancers, birth defects, reproductive harm, neurological and developmental toxicity, immunotoxicity, and disruption of the endocrine system.

Some people are more vulnerable than others to pesticide impacts. For example, infants and young children are known to be more susceptible than adults to the toxic effects of pesticides. Farm workers and pesticide applicators are also more vulnerable because they receive greater exposures.

For more information about the effects of specific chemicals or pesticide products, see Pesticide Action Network’s Pesticide Database. For a survey of scientific studies linking pesticides to specific diseases, see Beyond Pesticides’ Pesticide-induced diseases database.

Acute (Immediate) Health Effects

Immediate health effects from pesticide exposure includes irritation of the nose, throat, and skin causing burning, stinging and itching as well as rashes and blisters. Nausea, dizziness and diarrhea are also common. People with asthma may have very severe reactions to some pesticides, particularly pyrethrin/pyrethroid, organophosphate and carbamate pesticides.

In many cases, symptoms of pesticide poisoning mimic symptoms of colds or the flu. Since pesticide-related illnesses appear similar or identical to other illnesses, pesticide poisonings are often misdiagnosed and under-reported. Immediate symptoms may not be severe enough to prompt an individual to seek medical attention, or a doctor might not even think to ask about pesticide exposure. Still, seek medical attention immediately if you think you may have been poisoned by pesticides.

Chronic (Long-term) Health Effects

Chronic health effects include cancer and other tumors; brain and nervous system damage; birth defects; infertility and other reproductive problems; and damage to the liver, kidneys, lungs and other body organs. Chronic effects may not appear for weeks, months or even years after exposure, making it difficult to link health impacts to pesticides.

Pesticides have been implicated in human studies of leukemia, lymphoma and cancers of the brain, breasts, prostate, testis and ovaries. Reproductive harm from pesticides includes birth defects, still birth, spontaneous abortion, sterility and infertility.

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that — often at extremely low doses — interfere with important bodily functions by mimicking or blocking hormones (the chemical messengers that circulate in blood and regulate many body processes including metabolism, brain development, the sleep cycle and stress response). Some pesticides act as endocrine disruptors and have been shown to cause serious harm to animals, including cancer, sterility and developmental problems. Similar impacts have been associated with human exposure to these chemicals.

Children are More Vulnerable to Pesticide Exposure

Children are not simply “little adults.” Children are more vulnerable to pesticides exposure because their organs, nervous systems and immune systems are still developing; their higher rates of cell division and lower body weight also increase children’s susceptibility to pesticide exposure and risks. Their immature organs and other developing biological systems are particularly vulnerable to toxic contaminants. Exposure during certain early development periods can cause permanent damage.

In addition to being more vulnerable to pesticide toxicity, children’s behavior and physiology make them more likely to receive greater pesticide exposure than adults. Most pesticide exposure occurs through the skin and children have more skin surface for their size than adults. Children have a higher respiratory rate and so inhale airborne pesticides at a faster rate than adults. Children also consume proportionately more food and water — and pesticide residues — than adults. With their increased contact with floors, lawns and playgrounds, children’s behavior also increases their exposure to pesticides.

Effects of Weedicides on the ecology of a place

Weedicides effect the ecology of a place to a great extent in the following ways:

  1. They generally have negative impacts on bird populations, although the impacts are highly variable.

  2. Frog populations may be affected negatively by the use of weedicides as well.

  3. Long term exposure of weedicides are responsible for various types of cancers.

Here is an article on exposure of Pesticide in Sri Lanka

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