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Effects of Agro-chemical and Radioactive Wastes

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Effects of Agro-chemical and Radioactive Wastes - Lesson Summary

Intensive farming and use of agro-chemicals such as fertilisers, pesticides and fungicides during the Green Revolution enhanced crop production in our country but witnessed health consequences. The continuous use of agro-chemicals reduces soil fertility, leaches chemicals into soil and thereby contaminates the ground water. The runoff from these fields carries the agro-chemicals into water bodies and pollutes them, causing eutrophication.
 
In fact, most pesticides such as DDT, chlorpyrifos and aldrin are non-biodegradable and are easily incorporated into the food chain, thereby causing biomagnification. One of the best ways to address the biomagnification of chemicals is organic farming, where waste products from one process are cycled in as nutrients for other processes.

Radioactive waste is a hazardous waste, which pollutes our environment. It includes radioisotopes such as radium-226 and uranium-235 that naturally occur in rocks and soil, while others like cobalt-60, krypton-85 and strontium-90 are formed as fission products from nuclear reactors and atomic bomb fallout. Nuclear energy is used in generating electricity, but the use of nuclear reactors has two inherent problems – accidental leakage and safe disposal of radioactive wastes. The leakage of radioactive substances into air leads to acute radiation sickness and cancers. The nuclear wastes need to be disposed safely by pre-treating them and storing in shielded containers and burying them 500 metres below the earth’s surface.

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