Biocide use in agriculture is the single, most pollutant by-product of farming. Every year that farmers use Biocides, thirty eight million tonnes of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are dumped on the landscape, causing the environment to deteriorate at an unimaginable rate. Biocides were once hailed as a gift and a saviour for countries in need, but are now seen as a problem that is virtually unfixable. This investigation hopes to provide some insight into the reason why we live in a "chemical world". .
A Biocide is any chemical that kills or repels plants or animals that are considered pests. Biocides fall into three main categories- Fungicides, Herbicides and Pesticides. These three types are used to combat different pests. Fungicides are used against Fungus types, which include mildew, pin mould, rust and yeast. They are mostly made up of compounds containing metals like copper or mercury. Some Fungicides also contain sulphur, which is very bad if leaked into underground water systems (water table) Because Fungicides are sprayed directly at the part of the crop which is designed to be eaten, build up of chemicals in the body can ensue. Light traces of common Fungicides are found on most foods that are bought in supermarkets. .
Herbicides are used to combat noxious weeds and pest plants, such as broadleaf weeds. Herbicides come in two varieties; Non-Specific Herbicides kill all plants, regardless of pest status, and Specific Herbicides are designed to kill one variety of weed. Herbicides are widely varied. Some types contain manufactured chemicals; others mimic actual plant diseases that only affect weeds, for example B.T. B.T. is developed from a naturally occurring bacterium, and therefore cannot have much of an effect on the environment. Sprays like this are much more effective and safe than Biocide compositions, as they come from nature, unlike manufactured chemicals. The effects of Herbicides vary, but usually they can lead to poisoning or death if accidentally consumed.