Many things happen to the environment when pesticides are used. Sometimes, pesticides can be harmful to the environment as they do not reach the target area. For instance, when a herbicide is used to get rid of a particular weed, water runoff can remove the herbicide from the target area and end up polluting a water body and soil, and/or destroying other plants.
When pesticides are used, the environment can get affected through adsorption, transference, breakdown and degradation. It has been seen that when it comes to adsorption, pesticides bind themselves to soil particles. However, the amount of pesticide that binds depends on the type of pesticide, the pH of the soil, moisture present in the soil and the type of soil. Pesticides bind heavily with soils that have high clay content and organic matter. Sandy soils are not that strongly affected by pesticides.
Sometimes pesticides tend to be suspended in the environment as spray droplets. If these droplets are carried by breeze or wind, they can end up contaminating other crops and posing hazardous risks to humans, domestic animals and pollinating insects. In addition, these airborne droplets can contaminate water bodies like ponds, streams and rivers affecting the aquatic life in these bodies and adversely affecting the delicate ecosystem.
If pesticides leach into the soil, they ultimately reach groundwater and this can affect plants, animals, humans and water bodies adversely. Plants will absorb this pesticide laden water and as they result they will have residues of the pesticide. When the plant dies or is eaten by an animal, the pesticide residues will be released back into the environment.
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