Pesticides usage amid increased rainfall:
Published On January 30, 2023 » 496 Views» By Times Reporter » Features
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FIFTY-ONE years ago, the world came together for the Stockholm Conference. It marked the beginning of the environmental movement on a global scale.
Five decades later, our reliance on this beautiful blue planet, and the stresses we place upon it, are more evident than ever.
According to latest available data, what humanity is currently consuming from mother earth in one year is more than what the earth is able to regenerate or replenish in the same period.
Climate change, destruction of natural habitat, and deadly pollution resulting from various human activities including use of chemicals all threaten to ruin our home and wipe out many of the millions of animals that share this beautiful world with us.
But this deterioration can be stopped. If we act now, we have the strength and wisdom to undo the damage and save the Earth.
As a country, the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) exists to do all such things as are necessary to ensure sustainable management of natural resources and protection of the environment, and the prevention and control of pollution.
The Agency’s work revolves around creating a balance between economic activities and environmental protection.
One of the key themes covered is the management of Pesticides and Toxic Substances (PTS) including Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS).
While chemicalusage is a beneficial and necessary practice by farmers and other industry players alike, their negative effects on the environment and human health are equally severe depending on usage. Both agro and industrial chemicals are naturally toxic and can gradually accumulate, sediment and be transported long distances unknowingly.
Besides direct ingestion of chemical polluted products, humans and animals can get affected by chemical residues that get emitted into the environment; for example, chemicals that flow into water bodies near agricultural and industrial sites.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), hundreds of thousands of people annually die from unintentional poisoning due to excessive exposure and inappropriate use of toxic chemicals.
In the wake of the reported outbreak of Fall Army Worms in various parts of the country, it is anticipated that farmers have intensified usage of various pesticides to save their crops from damage from the said pests.
This comes with a high risk of chemical pollution in various dimensions. This risk increases with reported and observed increased rainfall activities causing flash floods. It is for this reason mitigatory measures are always emphasized at all levels.
Some of the mitigation measures include precision application to ensure chemicals are applied on the actual target and helps to reduce the amount of chemicals applied;recovery and treatment of contaminated runoff with installation of wetland stripes suitable to clean up runoff and water drainage; reinforcing education of chemical users and the public in general about chemical hazards; and thorough toxicity testing and proper registration and management of chemicals and formulations.
Some safety tips when handling chemicals to avoid environmental pollution include;
• Storing of pesticides in properly labelled containers in a concrete shed, impervious to liquids, free from cracks and smooth to facilitate cleaning;
• Storing ppesticides separately, according to their use such as herbicides and insecticides;
• Storing pesticides in a location away from homes, highly populated areas, drinking water sources, and areas liable to flooding; and
• Providing personnel involved in the storage of pesticides with acid or chemical resistant clothing with buttons to the neck, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Gloves, Polyvinyl (PVC) aprons, rubber boots, respirator canisters with filters specific for dust, mist, fumes, gases and vapours, Face shields and any other appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
While safety measures reduce the risk of contamination, another school of thought points to permanent sustainable solutions—a complete transformation to sustainable and ecologically friendly production, which include key principles such as minimal use of agrochemicals, building and maintaining healthy soils; and promoting biodiversity.
It is worth noting that ZEMA regulates the entire chemical cycle from manufacturing or importation to disposal.
According to section 66 of the Environmental Management Act (EMA) Number 12 of 2011, ZEMA is mandated with the responsibility to, among other things, control the importation, exportation, manufacturing, storage, distribution, sale, use, packaging, transportation, disposal and advertising of Pesticides and Toxic Substances (PTS).
Kindly contact us for more information on PTS management through our various platforms; and follow us on social media platforms (Facebook, twitter and Instagram)

The author is Manager, Corporate Affairs at ZEMA;

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