Friday, November 13, 2015

The Problem with Pesticides

By Chaney Haavik and Megan Jenkins

We are both sophomores at Ingraham High School. For our honors world literature class, we have been working to share information about water conservation and preservation. We have been learning about this in both our lit and biology classes. We both live near Phinney Ridge and are excited to share what we learned with you.

Pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizing chemicals are used in gardens and yards to kill insects and nasty weeds. Even though they are good for keeping gardens and lawns weed free and good looking, they are very harmful to environment. Since Seattle is a environment conscious city, you may already know this, and may even have decided against using them yourself. However, it is still important to be educated, and that’s our goal for this post.

Pesticides harm the environment:
  • Especially in Seattle, where we get our fair share of rain, pesticides are washed away and end up in our rivers, lakes, and the Puget Sound.
  • Even though much of the water in our storm drains go through wastewater treatment facilities, the chemicals remain.
  • These chemicals can have disastrous effects on the marine wildlife in and surrounding Seattle. For example, scientists have discovered that male fish exposed to harmful chemicals in Puget
  • Sound are feminized, their sexual organs and hormone levels changed to match more closely those of the females.
  • If pesticides continue to be popular, whole ecosystems can collapse from chemical harm.

Pesticides affect your family:

  • If you use pesticides, herbicides, or any kind of chemicals in your yard, you face constant exposure
  • Even if you personally do not use pesticides, you and your family likely come into contact with them through neighbors, friends, or family almost daily.
  • Your pets use their noses to explore when they wander your neighborhood. It is easy for chemicals to enter your animal’s body through their nose. 

You may not know….
  • “Homeowners use up to 10x more chemical pesticides per acre on their lawns than farmers use on crops.”
  • Nearly 80 million lbs of active pesticide ingredients are used in us lawns annually
  • The city of Seattle asks people to try to find alternatives to chemical pesticide use

What you can do:
  • Don’t use pesticides! There are many alternatives to using pesticides, and in some cases they aren’t even necessary.
  • Many plants can just be kept out of your yard by hand picking them out. It may be more time consuming, but you’ll be protecting yourself and the environment.
  • Protect your plants with netting or other barriers.
  • Use repellants made with organic ingredients.
  • Use ‘trap plants,’ which some insects like to feed on more than others.
  • Put plants in your garden that naturally repel insects.
  • Some insects are actually good for your garden, and are unnecessarily killed by pesticides
  • Tell others about the dangers of pesticides!
Please help us out by taking
this poll to show us what you learned!