With the aim of getting maximum yield from crops and combating the diseases that can ruin them, farmers apply to their fields’ chemical products known as fertilizers and pesticides.
One hundred years ago, one of the best known pesticides, DDT, began to be used. It was absorbed through the skin of insects, causing their almost instant death.
But DDT also affected other animals. It caused birds to lay eggs whose shells are so thin that they broke before chicks hatched. DDT had the same effect on the shells of mollusks in the sea.
By Way of Rivers
Rainwater washes the fertilizers and insecticides used by the farmers down to rivers. The river carries them down stream to the sea.
Fertilizers and pesticides do not degrade easily. They remain in the water, where they can be swallowed by marine life.
These substances then begin to circulate the food chain and their effects are apparent in its different links, from plankton to fish. Through contaminated fish, it finally reaches human beings.
Intensive use of crop fertilizers in order to combat famine-in a world with a population bordering on six billion people- and use of insecticides to control pests can create serious problems.
Sea Pollutants (Click on the picture to view large)
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