Chapter 4

Agricultural Pollution

K. Chitra and B. Sathya Priya

Abstract

Agriculture is a combination of science and art, and it is a complex activity. It is the cultivation of plants and livestock. One-third of the world’s workers are dependent on agriculture. But in developed countries, over the centuries, the number of agricultural workers has decreased significantly. In rural areas, agriculture is the largest livelihood provider in India. The by-products of growing and raising livestock, food crops, animal feed and biofuel crops are often considered as contaminants and released into the environment, referred to as agricultural pollution. Many different sources cause agricultural pollution. They are nitrogen-based fertilizers, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, animal manure, industrial effluents, soil erosion and sedimentation, farm animal waste and nutrient runoff. Water and lakes are mainly contaminated by agricultural pollutants. Agricultural pollutants contaminate the soil and water. Chemicals from fertilizers and pesticides first contaminate the groundwater and consequently, drinking water. It contributes to health-related problems in humans. Algal blooms in drinking water and swimming in water streams containing dangerous algal blooms can cause rashes, stomach and liver problems, respiratory infections and neurological effects. A blue baby syndrome is often caused in infants. It is due to high levels of nitrates in drinking water. Agricultural pollution also causes heavy economic losses. We should prevent agricultural pollution through planning and application of fertilizers at the correct time, planting trees and shrubs around the boundaries of farmlands, should avoid over tillage, managing the proper disposal of animal waste and anaerobic digestion of animal waste. We should use bio-fertilizers, organic fertilizers, bio-pesticides and manures to prevent agricultural pollution.

Total Pages: 46-58 (13)

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