A study conducted by Nature Geoscience has created a global model map that’s shows the pollution risks across 168 countries, based on 92 chemicals commonly used in agriculture pesticides.
The study was based on the risk that these chemicals poised to the environments soil, atmosphere, surface and ground water.
The findings revealed that 64 per cent of agriculture and food crops produced from these areas were at risk of pesticide pollution with almost a third of the areas considered high-risk.
Asian countries such as China, Japan, Malaysia and the Philippines were found to be the largest land areas with the highest risk of pollution. Many of these countries are considered “food bowl” nations which the world population relies on for food sources, creating serious issues.
“Our study has revealed 64 percent of the world’s arable land is at risk of pesticide pollution. This is important because the wider scientific literature has found that pesticide pollution can have adverse impacts on human health and the environment,” said Fiona Tang, University of Sydney research associate and study’s lead author.
Despite the Oceanic region being at low-risk to pesticide pollution, Australia’s Murray-Darling basin is considered a high-concern region due to water scarcity issues and high level of biodiversity says Fedrico Maggi, co-author associate professor from the School of Civil Engineering and Sydney Institute of Agriculture.
Pesticides can runoff into surface and ground waters resulting in pollution of major water bodies affecting their use as a resource. The study reflects a growing worry that overuse of pesticides will destabilise ecosystems and negatively impact the humans and animals that rely on these water sources.
As the global population is predicted to grow to 8.5 billion by 2030, global pesticide use is also expected to rise.
“Although protecting food production is essential for human development, reducing pesticide pollution is equivalently crucial to protect the biodiversity that maintains soil health and functions, contributing towards food security,” said Tang.
“We recommend a global strategy to transition towards a sustainable, global agricultural model that reduces food wastage while reducing the use of pesticides,” said Tang and Maggi.