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Is biological pest control better than chemical pest control?

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Introduction

Is biological pest control better than chemical pest control? Food is vital for humans to survive, the population of the world is immense as it approaches 6 billion and all these humans need to be fed on a continual basis. Therefore, a large quantity of food needs to be produced rapidly and on a very large scale. Generally farmers across the western world do produce food very quickly and efficiently and there tends to be a surplus of food, whereas, in less developed countries they have a shortage of food. Due to the size of the world's population and it's high levels of demand for food farmers are unable to leave crops alone and let them grow naturally. For example, one-third of the crops that are grown worldwide are spoiled by pests, animals particularly insects and many plants. Certain types of crops grow better in certain set conditions and there are many different factors which effect the crop yield. Crops grow by photosynthesis, the environmental factors affecting the rate of photosynthesis, are light intensity, concentration of carbon dioxide in the air, and the surrounding temperatures. All the requirements for photosynthesis need to be available at a good rate and supply, the light intensity which is usually supplied by the sun needs to be at suitable intensity, which means the crop will only grow certain times of the year due to the amount of light available. The same applies to the concentration of carbon dioxide, which usually does not tend to cause a problem, as there is ample supply of carbon dioxide in the surrounding air, however if it is ever to run low the crops will not grow. The temperature is another factor which has a huge effect on the growth of crops, if the temperature is to get too high this would prevent any growth of the plant as it would not be able to deal with the extreme temperature killing off the chlorophyll that the plant requires to grow. ...read more.

Middle

So many pesticides harm the environment a great deal, even though many tests are done before hand. Pesticides also change wildlife habitat, for example if a herbicide was put down on certain plants or vegetation, animals that depend on that piece of vegetation find it difficult to live any longer and so slowly will begin to die out, and so if they begin to die out then the population of their predator that relies on that particular creature, will begin to decrease. Another problem, that that may arise is if a particular pesticide is used a lot the pest may eventually become resistant to it. The pesticide no longer kills the pest and so a new one has to be developed at all times which results in more resources and cash flow being ploughed into developing and testing. Also once the pesticides are applied, they can be used up quickly and if it rains they sometimes need to be reapplied which takes much time and effort because special clothing and safety measures need to be carried out each time. The most important disadvantage of using chemical pesticides are that the crops that have been produced using pesticides are now covered with chemicals which we will now eat and which can be very harmful for us. Another major harm to humans is to farmers, who are using the pesticides and are in contact with it on a continual basis and it has led to them becoming extremely ill, for example, in parts of the UK, farmers and their families are being diagnosed with illnesses, which are associated with pesticide poisoning. Such conditions as multiple sclerosis that are occurring in many of the farmers, especially in the cases where they use sheep dipping as part of their work. Also in less developed countries the farmers are effected a lot more because they do not have all the specially designed clothing which they require and so in places like Malaysia and Sri Lanka, 7 to 15 per cent of farmers experience poisoning at least once in their lives. ...read more.

Conclusion

Damage that might be caused to the environment is mostly caused by chemical control because there are a number of pollutants sprayed into the air, which infect the atmosphere, and there are a lot of chemicals going in to the soils, which also damages the soil. Also if pesticides are persistent a large concentration can be built up in different animals, which can cause problems and be dangerous to those animals. Additionally pesticides are not selective and harm creatures that don't need to be infected; also a number of habitats can be destroyed when certain plants are killed. Whereas biological don't have any environmental effects and so biological controls would be a better one to use. Possible health hazards are that chemical controls can be dangerous to the people who have to apply them to the ground and also the food we eat has absorbed the spray and so they can infect us and harm our bodies. However biological controls do not have any health hazards, therefore, are very safe and is the better one to use. In addition in the developed world we have become increasingly concerned about the long-term effects that chemical pesticides and herbicides may have on us as we eat our well-sprayed food. We have also become progressively greener over recent years, with more and more people expressing concern over the future of the earth and our effect on it. Substituting biological control for chemical intervention therefore seems like a very good idea. The developing world cannot yet afford such concerns the main struggle for many developing nations is to be able to feed all their hungry mouths. But in these countries too the cost of chemical control and the increasing resistance of pests to the expensive chemicals are adding another powerful voice to the arguments in favour of biological control as an integrated part of pest management. So overall the one I think is best and has least problems and safest to use is the biological controls. ...read more.

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