There is no impact of agriculture on the environment if it is done by natural methods.
Also one needs to remember that farming is not a business.
But, when done by the use of artificial methods and in a business model will lead to adverse effects on the environment.
Besides the environment, it also affects the health of humans and other animals as they are directly dependent on it for food.
So, agriculture is one of the precious means of work and has to be done with ethics. If not it would affect the nature and also all the living beings.
Impact of Agriculture on Environment
3. Contamination of food
4. Destruction of natural flora and fauna.
5. Decrease in groundwater
6. Destruction of natural species
Pollution: Agriculture leads to three type of pollution like
- Air pollution
- Soil pollution
- Water pollution
All these three forms of pollution are again due to a single cause. That is the heavy use of chemical manures and pesticides.
Manures are the materials that are needed for the growth of crops and plants. They enhance the yield and support the health and vitality of the plant. But, these manures can be natural, organic or even chemical. Natural manures include household kitchen waste, poultry waste, farm animal excreta, and crop waste, growing of nitrogen-fixing algae, bacteria, etc.
All, the methods give nutrition to the plant to the fullest.
But in some countries, there is the use of human waste, chemical fertilizer use either due to poverty or misinformation. In the United States, Europe, and other countries, the use of these artificial chemical fertilizers was in full swing in the past. But, due to the recognition of its effects on the soil and environment, this has been discontinued. However, this is still prevalent in some countries.
This use of chemical fertilizers may give instant results to the farmers regarding yield. But, in the long run, it destroys the soil’s natural texture and chemistry. The soil’s pH is changed; its ability to retain water, plant-friendly microbes is lost. This leads to unhealthy plant crops leading to heavy diseases and infections. To control this, farmers again use chemical pesticides which are mostly organophosphorus compounds or cyanide containing ones.
So, now the crop material is contaminated with pesticides too. During this use of pesticides, there is air pollution. Hence, farmers wear a face mask to avoid the chemical effects on them. But, this leads to air pollution, soil pollution. Further, if there are rivers beside, it can also lead to water pollution. Another interesting fact is, these pesticides do not get degraded faster. They tend to stay in the soil for a long time. Due to this, they could reach groundwater and contaminate it.
The soil and crop are also contaminated with this chemical and can reach even humans through food.
Though pesticides are intended to destroy plant pathogens, they also affect birds and other animals like rodents, reptiles living on the farm. Since birds eat the larva or insects; the pesticide poison even reaches their body and kills them. Sometimes this is heavy during their breeding and prevents the growth of their offsprings. This leads to a decrease in birds and other animal populations in the surroundings.
Deforestation: Large swaths of lands give more of crop yield. This is a tactic used to enhance agricultural revenue. So, farmers encroach nearby forests if any and cut down the trees. This is done to enhance the land size for cultivation. In doing so, in some countries, the forests area is drastically reduced than the minimum recommended 30% of the entire landmass for forests.
Contamination of food: This is a huge problem, and its control is almost impossible. Farm products starting from milk, meat, vegetables, grain, etc., are contaminated. In spite of FDI and other regulatory bodies ’ efforts to control the limits, still, they find their way into the human body. This food contamination can be in the form of hormones in milk and as pesticides in food.
Once, they get into the body; they alter the hormonal secretions and nervous system. Since these are vital body systems; the health of the individual is affected over time. However, this is not so problematic when fiber crops like cotton are grown.
Destruction of natural flora and fauna: The presence of flora and fauna is a part of nature. The soil has many microorganisms and other animals like earthworms living in it. Due to the widespread use of chemicals, this natural living system is affected. Bacteria in the soil tend to decay the waste and enhance soil fertility. But when the pH is changed, they are unable to survive; this leads to the destruction of environmental diversity and balance.
The decrease in groundwater: Water for irrigation is mostly supplied by rains and also rivers. Due to deforestation, the rains are minimal. Due to this, farmers rely on tube well or bore wells to irrigate their crops using groundwater.
When widely used, the groundwater levels reduce. Hence, as per WHO, there is a decrease in groundwater all over the world.
Destruction of natural species of the crop:
Every region has its own set of plants like wheat and grain. Though they are the same species vary from one region to another. With, the entry of seed companies into the field, the natural species are getting extinct. The seed companies introduce the techniques of biotechnology to enhance disease resistance, drought resistance etc. In doing so, the farmers become dependent on these seeds. The natural seeds are extinct in many places. These seeds produced by the company may give rise to high crop yield. But, the seeds from these crops are not strong enough to germinate if sown back in the soil for the next crop. So, there is a loss of natural species and also natural means of cultivation.