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Essay on Ecological Hazards of Agriculture

Agriculture and nature have powerful effects on each other. For centuries, agriculture contributes to the creation and maintenance of a large number of semi-natural habitats. They constituted an important part of the landscape in the world with the richest wildlife resources. Agriculture also supports various rural communities, which are not only fundamental resource of the international culture, but also play a vital role in protecting the health of the environment.

Importance of farming goes far beyond simple food production. Throughout the food production chain processes occur that may impact environment and, therefore, directly or indirectly, human health and development. For example, the widespread use of pesticides and fertilizers, the use of improper methods of drainage and irrigation, high level of mechanization or unsuitable land use can lead to environmental degradation. But the rejection of the agricultural activities also jeopardize the ecological heritage, resulting in the loss of semi-natural habitats, biodiversity and associated landscapes. Likewise, the impact of agricultural production on human health directly (occupational health of farmers) or indirectly (the health of consumers through food) is increasingly recognized as an integrated part of a broader assessment of the ecological hazards of agriculture.

The relationship between the wealth of the natural environment and farming practices are complex. Although extensive farming helps to preserve a large number of valuable habitats on which the survival of wild species depends, the use of improper farming practices and land use can lead to the loss of wildlife in agricultural lands.

In the situation of the agriculture impact on environment, including secondary impacts on human health, we should certainly begin a discussion on the potential environmental impact of new technologies in food production, while recognizing that current trends in traditional agriculture is likely to be reflected in the modern food production.

Among the main factors influencing environment, agriculture exacerbates the problems of greenhouse gases (GHGs). In agriculture, there are three main sources of GHG emissions: N2O emissions (nitrous oxide) from the soil, caused mainly by nitrogen fertilizers; emissions of CH4 (methane) produced during enteric fermentation and CH4 and N2O emissions from manure and manure management. Among the measures under consideration are the promotion of more efficient fertilizer application to reduce the total volume of their use, composting and anaerobic digestion systems improvement (e.g., biogas), dealing with biodegradable waste and agricultural waste; renew the attention to the production of biomass, soil-tillage and organic farming. Further development of methods for the rational use of renewable agricultural biomass can help reduce emissions by transport, while bringing benefits to the agricultural sector.

Water pollution is mainly caused by nitrates from agricultural sources, while the use of improved agricultural practices must contribute to the reduction of environmental pollution.

It is proved that pesticides affect the environment and ecosystems, leading to loss of biodiversity, particularly due to the destruction of weeds and insects, which are often an important element of the food chain. In addition, pesticides may adversely affect human health as a result of the direct and indirect effects.

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