- Carbon Trading
- Renewable Energy
- Waste Management
- All Categories
Are you curious to know whether the New GMOs Will Not Reduce Pesticide Use? and their impact on pesticide use? It’s time to understand what the data suggests and get to the bottom of this environmental issue. In this article, we’ll explore the latest research and evidence to uncover whether these new GMOs really have the potential to reduce pesticide use or if it’s just a myth. Don’t miss out on discovering the truth about this important topic!
Weeds, insects, and diseases destroy more than a third of crops produced around the world. Pesticides are substances, usually chemicals, that farmers use to kill, repel, or control pests. Farmers use pesticides to stop invasive weeds and predatory insects from destroying their crops. Pests result in reduced yields, increasing costs for farmers and consumers. Allowing farmers access to agricultural technologies like GMOs helps them reduce their losses from pests and increase yields without growing crops on more land.
Although pesticides help farmers control weeds and insects that destroy crops, they harm human health and the environment. Pesticides can travel from the crop and into our bodies when we consume them. Numerous studies have linked pesticide exposure to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Exposure to pesticides also increases the risk of certain types of cancer.
Pesticide runoff from agricultural lands can enter water bodies like ponds, lakes, and wells and contaminate them. Pesticides may also kill certain types of plants it was not intended for. They are even toxic to fish, birds, microorganisms, and insects but beneficial for crops.
However, in the two decades since their widespread adoption, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in crop agriculture have helped us achieve environmental benefits. Growing GMO crops reduce pesticide use and greenhouse gas emissions. GMOs are organisms whose DNA scientists have altered or manipulated to produce desirable traits in the organisms.
GMO crops make vital contributions to reducing the ecological footprint of agriculture. They also help in securing food supplies worldwide in a sustainable way. GMOs have lifted many small and resource-poor farmers and their families in developing countries out of poverty.
Many anti-GMO groups have often claimed that growing new GMOs will not reduce pesticide use but increase their application. However, a recent study found that pesticide use associated with GMO crops is a complicated issue and varies by country and crop.
However, the paper noted that farmers reported a reduction in pesticide use by 776 million kilograms worldwide between 1996 and 2018. They reduced pesticide use by adopting GMO crops with insect-resistant (IR) and herbicide-tolerant (HT) traits. This amount equals more than 1.6 times China’s annual pesticide use. According to the Environmental Impact Quotient (EIQ), farmers that used GMO crops reduced the environmental impact of crop production practices by 19%.
Researchers also found that GMO adoption reduced tillage and fuel use. The paper noted that this reduction amounted to greenhouse gas reductions equivalent to removing 15.27 million cars from the roads.
Increases in the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases such as methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide have disastrous impacts on the global environment. Therefore, reducing these emissions through crop biotechnology represents a positive development for the world.
GMO crops also let farmers harvest increased yields, allowing them to produce more crops without using more land. Over the past 22 years, researchers noted increased yields of 16.5% for IR corn and 13.7% for IR cotton. Today, around 17 million farmers around the world grow GMO crops.
Without access to GMO crops and biotechnology, farmers would have needed to produce additional millions of hectares of crops to maintain global production levels. It would be equivalent to farming an additional 14% arable land in the US, 38% arable land in Brazil, and 16% agricultural land in China.
These improvements in crop seeds helped farmers become more efficient with applying pesticides. Reduced pesticide use not only lowered agriculture’s impact on the environment but also saved time and money. GMO technology is also helping farmers change agriculture’s carbon footprint. With GMO crops, farmers can adopt sustainable agricultural practices, such as reduced tillage. Practices such as these decrease fossil fuel burning and allow the soil to retain more carbon.
However, while GMO crops have helped farmers reduce pesticide use, they’ve increased herbicide use. HT crops allow farmers to use herbicides in quantities that will kill weeds without harming the crops. Most herbicides worldwide use glyphosate as the main ingredient. Scientists develop GMOs to tolerate the herbicide glyphosate.
HT GMO crops have allowed farmers to switch from using traditional herbicides to glyphosate. Glyphosate is less toxic than conventional herbicides. This means that using glyphosate poses less of a risk to human health.
However, recently the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that glyphosate is probably a carcinogen. Carcinogens are substances capable of causing cancer. Although studies that explored the relationship between glyphosate and cancer in humans have produced conflicting results, glyphosate has caused cancer in rats and mice. Experiments have shown that exposing human cells to glyphosate causes DNA damage.
Plants like weeds can develop resistance to herbicides over time. Weeds that have developed resistance to herbicides like glyphosate may need more glyphosates to be killed. This means crops resistant to glyphosate will also be exposed to larger amounts of the herbicide.