We are living in a time of rapid biodiversity loss and there is growing evidence that pesticides are contributing to this, whilst also having a negative impact on human health. Pesticides are used to help farmers grow food in a more intensive way and improve the aesthetics of gardens, parks and other public green spaces by removing invasive weeds and controlling pests. However, removing pests and weed seeds from the environment in turn disrupts the habitats and food webs that our wildlife relies on to survive.
The effects of pesticides on bees is well documented but the impacts on other wildlife is just as scary but far less publicised. A report by Friends of the Earth explains how easy it is for other creatures to come into contact with pesticides and be unintentionally harmed by the impact of herbicides.
- Crop sprays drift outside the intended spraying area.
- Residues in soils affect the quality and structure of soils and can be toxic to soil-living organisms.
- Residues blown across fields and landscapes such as when fields are ploughed.
- Chemicals leach into soils and onward into rivers and water courses and affect aquatic life.
- When birds eat worms and insects, pesticide residues move up through the food chain.
- When herbicides kill plants regarded as weeds they remove vital sources of food and shelter for wild species, adding to pressure on them to relocate, alter their diet, or starve.
For more information on the effects of pesticides on our wildlife you can read the full report by Friends of the Earth here: https://policy.friendsoftheearth.uk/opinion/effects-pesticides-our-wildlife