What are the benefits and problems of using pesticides to control agricultural pests?
Pesticide use has immediate benefits of killing off insect pests before they can harm the garden, crops, house, etc. However, not all pests have the exact same DNA and ultimately, there will be a few resistant individuals. These will live, multiply and spread the gene for resistant to other insect pests. There is a constant uphill battle between pesticides and resistant pests. The formulas of these chemicals must be changed to continue to be effective. Pesticides also target pests such as plant pathogens, weeds, mollusks, birds, mammals, fish, roundworms and microbes that destroy property, are disease vectors or nuisances. Unfortunately, in the case of Malaria mosquitoes, in some parts of the world, the pesticides are useless. Pesticides can be consumed when you eat the produce that was sprayed. Their long term effects in humans and other animals may be unknown. Or, they may be carcinogenic or endocrine disruptors. The pesticides in the food chain which starts with plants, gets magnified in each level that eats organisms from the previous level. Pesticides may be long-lasting in the ecosystem and may degrade over decades. According to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, 9 of the 12 most dangerous and persistent are pesticides. DDT is an example of one such pesticide, which is still present in organisms although its use has been banned for the past 30+ years. Today, science is seeking alternatives to using pesticides, which will be safer for the environment and which will preserve biodiversity and the health of various species in the ecosystems.