Punjab is looked at as one of the greatest success stories of the Green Revolution. Also known as the bread basket of India, farming was revolutionized in the 1970’s and immense crop yield was generated.
Almost fifty years after this feat, Punjab is also witnessing some adverse effects. It is one of the first places to start showing these. Punjab witnessed a huge usage of pesticides as a result of which pests have now become tolerant. The soil and air have both become contaminated. Precious groundwater reserves have become poisoned.
Indiscriminate pesticide sales
Punjab is responsible for 20% of India’s pesticide demand. India’s farm regulations are not very strict. Most of the pesticides are sprayed by untrained farm laborers. They do not follow safety regulations and use faulty procedures. These include excessive spraying and usage of faulty nozzles. India still allows the sale of pesticides that have been banned in other nations. There are many unauthorized dealers selling these without giving any safety guidelines.
Effects on human health
Punjab has witnessed a rise in diseases among the population. This includes the birth of stillborn babies and children with birth defects. Populations are facing cancer and renal failure. Cow’s milk and breastmilk has been found to contain traces of pesticides. All of these are due to the ill-advised agriculture practices.
There has been an increase in suicide rates among the farmers facing problems like debts. Diversified farming has come to a standstill and 78% of the land produces only rice and wheat. These food grains have high calorific value and Punjab has witnessed an obesity rate of 30-38%.
What can be done?
- Send health inspectors to counsel locals.
- Free protective gear should be distributed.
- Proper assistance of organic farming.
- Unauthorized pesticide dealerships should be removed.