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Chemical fertilizers pose health risks

Published : 26 Sep 2019 08:34 PM | Updated : 03 Sep 2020 11:51 AM

The use of chemical fertilizers in the country’s agrarian sector has shown an increasing trend, posing serious health risks to humans, as chemical fertilizers bear some harmful health-affecting ingredients. Due to superfluous use of fertilizer and absence of any safety option, people are falling prey to shocks of multiple diseases as harmful and understandable negative substances enter into the human body through food grains grown by chemical fertilizers.

A portion of the fertilizer used is being wasted, which turns into a variety of harmful substances and subsequently washed by floods or rainwater and adversely affects wetlands and forests, said Agriculturist Zahid Hasan. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the demand for chemical fertilizers in the country was estimated to be 56 lakh one thousand tonnes in the financial year 2018-19 which is 7 lakh 51 thousand tonnes more than the current fiscal year. A senior official at the Ministry of Agriculture said, that after reviewing the trend of fertilizer use in the financial year 2017-18, and also last two years, it has been seen that the use of fertilizers has increased slightly due to the addition of urea in non-agricultural sectors, including agriculture.

In addition, the use of Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) fertilizers is also increasing and owing to this, the demand for urea and DAP fertilizers has been increased by 50 thousand tonnes. Zahid Hasan opined that there is no alternative to using fertilizers in cereal crops cultivation to meet the growing demand for food. In our country, excessive chemical uses adversely affects nature, humans and other animals as a whole.

Several researchers found that there is a direct effect as fertilizers are applied to the land. Variety of chemicals, including organic substances in the soil, such as earthworms or oxygen of the plant are getting destroyed. The non-fertilizer use of fertilizers has also increased, Alamgir Khan, a leading scientist in a privately-owned seed company, said, “Chemical fertilizers are now used for various purposes of industrial factories. Fertilizer is being used to fatten livestock. In the past, people did not use fertilizers in the production of vegetables and fruits, now the use of chemical fertilizers has increased in these areas.”

He suggested that, opting for organic farming will create a healthy natural environment and ecosystem for the present as well as future generation. According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, 39 lakh six thousand tonnes chemical fertilizers had been used in the financial year 2012-13, 42 lakh 66 thousand tonnes in 2013-14, 45 lakh 98 thousand tonnes in 2014-15, 44 lakh in 2015-16 and 45 lakh 50 thousand in 2016-17. .

According to the agriculture magazine ‘Hunker’, there is an increasing concern that continuous use of chemical fertilizers on soil depletes the soil of essential nutrients. As a result, the food produced in these soils has less vitamins and mineral contents. A data produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Data Laboratory, said foods grown in soils that were chemically fertilized were found to have less magnesium, potassium and calcium content.