By Anoushrayan Deysarkar
Chemical fertilizers are one of the cornerstones of the Green Revolution in India. They drastically increase the yield of crops grown in the fields. However, they have their own drawbacks.
Chemical fertilizers dissolve in water and are absorbed by the plants as mineral nutrients. However, they also enter the groundwater and form poisonous substances. Sometimes, rain washes them into rivers and streams, thus polluting them.
When animals or humans drink or use such water, they fall ill, due to the poisonous nature of some of these substances.
The bigger problem, however, is that chemical fertilizers do not enrich the soil, unlike organic fertilizers such as manure and animal dung. This is because chemical fertilizers deplete the nutrients in the soil. For example, excess nitrogen in the soil feeds the growth of nitrogen-eating microbes, which produce CO2. In this way, carbon is pulled out of the soil and into the atmosphere. However, it is essential to have sufficient quantity of carbon in the soil. In this way, chemical fertilizers reduce the amount of essential nutrients in the soil. They also prevent the regeneration of soil nutrients.
Chemical pesticides are also a major problem. They kill off the bacteria and fungi in the soil. The reduction of organic matter has drastic consequences for the soil. The soil does not regenerate essential nutrients. This is because the bacteria break down compounds into nitrogen and phosphates, which are important for the health of the plant.
In this way, chemical fertilizers and pesticides severely harm the soil. Alternatively, organic manures and organic pesticides made from natural substances can help to keep the soil healthy. The yield will be reduced, but the soil will last for a longer period of time. Thus, it is wise to choose organic pesticides and fertilizers over chemical ones.
Go organic and save the soil!