Impacts of Pesticides

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SCIENCE AND THE ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND THE ENVIRONMENT The Environmental Impacts of Pesticides Paige March 8, 2012 In Canada, more than 500 pesticides have officially been approved. They are generally classified as herbicides, insecticides or fungicides and are used to target specific plants insects or molds. However applying pesticides can cause environmental problems such as damage to eco zones, aquatic ecosystems by surface runoff, erosion and wind which are all contributors to agricultural contamination. Pesticides can be mishandled or misused. The effects of pesticides can be devastating. They build up and cause problems for the future. Improper use of pesticides can affect all the organisms that live in that ecosystem. The use of pesticides needs to be cautiously monitored, in order to protect the environment and species from the harmful effects that pesticides can cause. Pesticides can travel great distances through the environment even if that is not the intention. Whether the chemical is sprayed on crops or in gardens, the wind can blow the pesticide to other areas that may be pesticide sensitive. They can also flow into rivers or streams where they are carried to new locations or they can seep deep into the soil and affect the groundwater causing unexpected harm to those who drink the contaminated water. As part of a National Water Quality Surveillance Program both British Columbia and Ontario were found between 2003 and 2005 to have the largest number of pesticides found in aquatic ecosystems and sensitive surface waters. Samples were taken from approximately 140 sites and 15 watersheds of various sizes. Below is a map showing a few highlights of the program. Environment Canada shows statistics from this program showing that in British Columbia 63/85 areas sampled were contaminated with pesticides that is 74% and in Ontario 61/77 areas sampled
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