Prelim- 997

With reference to the term ‘Pesticide Treadmill’, consider the following statements:
1. It means increasing the doses of pesticides to prevent the resurgence of the earlier controlled pest.
2. It yields counterproductive results as repeated spraying increases the vulnerabilities of the farming communities to debt and poor health.
3. It involves targeted spraying on pests so that no other insects which are harmless or beneficial to the crops get killed.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
1 only
3 only
1 and 2 only
2 and 3 only
Explanation :
Farmers all over the world are suffering from a “pesticides treadmill”. Pests are growing resistant to their sprays. So farmers have to spray ever more to have any effect, or buy new, more expensive chemicals. Thus the term means increasing the doses of pesticides to prevent the resurgence of the earlier controlled pest. Hence, 1st statement is correct.
Maharashtra state is a centre of India’s cotton growing. Here many insects live in the cotton fields. The most destructive, the American bollworm, is spreading and growing resistant to pyrethroids and other cheap pesticides. To save their crops, farmers are spraying typically 10-12 times in a single growing season. Partly as a result, cotton farmers have become the biggest users of pesticides in India. This repeated spraying is very expensive, forcing many farmers into debt. And it is counter-productive, encouraging resistance to the chemicals among the pests. So the next year the farmer must spray even more. Hence, 2nd statement is correct.
Spraying often pollutes drinking water and neighbouring crops, and is a health hazard for farmers and their families. It is also labour intensive. An even more severe aspect of the pesticide treadmill is when it escalates. It can happen that the effective elimination of one target pest allows other insect pests to thrive, resulting in the farmer having to use other insecticides to eliminate the new pest problem. This can lead to more pests and the need for yet more insecticide types to deal with the additional problems. Constant spraying may simply kill other insects, who are harmless or even beneficial to the crop. Hence, 3rd statement is incorrect.