The Problems of Agriculture in China

Standard Page - 2011-07-11
Chemical-intensive agriculture is taking its toll on China. The massive, widespread use of toxic chemical pesticides and fertilisers is poisoning lakes and rivers, damaging the soil, killing wildlife and sickening people. Genetic engineering, meanwhile, threatens our health and the biodiversity of our planet.

Chemical-intensive agriculture is taking its toll on China. The massive, widespread use of toxic chemical pesticides and fertilisers is poisoning lakes and rivers, damaging the soil, killing wildlife and sickening people. Genetic engineering, meanwhile, threatens our health and the biodiversity of our planet.

China’s overreliance on chemical agriculture is harmful for both China and the world. It threatens global food security as well as the local health and livelihoods of farmers and consumers.

Toxic farming, toxic food

Greenpeace volunteers buy fruits and vegetables to test for hazardous pesticides at a Park n Shop supermarket in Guangzhou.

China is the world’s number one user of chemical pesticides and fertilisers.

Fruits and vegetables are regularly sold across the country containing a hazardous cocktail of pesticides. Discoveries of banned pesticides in food are not uncommon. But the people most at risk from hazardous pesticides are the farmers themselves, who work in close contact with these chemicals throughout their lives.

Chemical fertilisers are no less scary. China uses millions of tonnes of chemical fertilisers each year, and only one quarter or so of which can be absorbed by crops. The rest is lost into the environment, and pollutes rivers, lakes and groundwater. Chemical fertilisers are a major source of water pollution in China: they kill aquatic life and create dead zones devoid of oxygen and organisms in lakes and oceans.

Genetic Gambling

The insertion of genetic material from one organism into the DNA of another is disaster for our safety and biodiversity. Genetically engineered plants can cross-breed with others in the wild, thus spreading their “engineered” genes into the environment, contaminating our biodiversity. More and more research is starting to show that genetic engineering has dangerous health implications as well. Learn more about genetic engineering

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