Pesticides undoubtedly are poisonous and their indiscriminate use and abuse may result in ecological imbalance resulting in pest resurgence, aggravation of minor pest, pesticides resistance, environmental pollution, poising serious health hazards to man and animals, although pesticides offer one of the best means of controlling insect-pests and diseases of plant.
Only a small amount of the pesticides (less than 1%) applied to a crop reaches to the target pests and the remaining more than 99% contaminates soil, air, water, food, feed etc. However, if used judiciously such problems are not likely to occur. Most of the problems have occurred due to misuse and abuse of pesticides for which man is responsible and not the pesticides. Therefore, the following precautions should be followed in handling and using the pesticides:-
- The pesticides must be used within expiry date.
- Keep pesticides in labeled containers only
- Do not spray or dust dangerous pesticides in lakes, ponds, and rivers.
- Do not use pesticides on farm animals without consulting your veterinary doctor.
- Do not use leaky and faulty equipment.
- Do not apply pesticides on a lawn or pasture when people or animals are around.
- Do not allow pesticides drifts to an area where it might injure people or animals.
- Apply various kind of pesticides instead of one to prevent the resistant power of pests,
- Those engaged in handling dangerous pesticides should be checked by a physician periodically.
- Timing of application of pesticides (crop/target-growth stage)
- Read the label carefully and follow instructions
- All the precautions prescribed should be observed in the transport of pesticides.
- Buy pesticides of reputed company.
- Do not buy if pesticide container has missing information
- Select the correct product
- Store pesticides in a safe and locked place, away from the reach of the children, pets and irresponsible persons
- Never store pesticides near foodstuffs or medicines or kitchen.
Precautions before application of pesticides
- Contact with agricultural staffs for suggestions of pest control
- First identify the insect-pests and diseases before application of pesticides
- Use pesticides on the basis of recommendation
- If there is lot of recommended pesticides for a particular insect-pest or disease then select that pesticide which is safe and having less hazardous effect on environment
- To check the implements before application of pesticides
- Don’t clean the nozzle of sprayer machine through whiff
- Application of pesticides after careful reading of label of bottle or packet of pesticide
- Do not transport agrochemicals from store to field on body; better to use a trolley.
- Do not tear open the pesticides bags, but cut with knife as well as always open the packets or bottles by using knife not by mouth
- The preparation of spray solutions from concentrated dangerous pesticides should be done in drums using long sticks to protect the operator from splashing and to permit stirring from a standing position.
- Special care is necessary when handling undiluted products
- Never use food containers or spoons
Precautions during application of pesticides
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water every time the sprayer/duster is filled with pesticides.
- Use separate working clothes while applying chemicals. They should be washed and changed as frequently as possible.
- The discharge from the sprayer should be directed away from the body. Leaking equipment should be repaired and the skin should be washed after any accidental contamination.
- While spraying or dusting workers should not eat, chew or smoke.
- Do not keep your food and drinking water near the pesticides and in the area of operation.
- When the person is spraying, he should not be empty stomach.
- Use hand gloves or other protective clothing while handling dangerous pesticides
- During application of pesticides use thick napkin to cover mouth
- Spraying/ dusting operations should be preferably conducted during morning or evening hours when the wind is calm.
- No application of pesticides during middle period of the day when very hot and bright sunlight prevailed
- No application of pesticides during high velocity wind blowing
- Never spray or dust the pesticides against the direction of wind.
- No application of pesticides during flowering, it kills pollinators and disturbs pollination
- Operators should not work for more than 8 hours a day.
- Do not blow, suck or apply mouth to any sprinkler, nozzle or other spraying equipment.
- Use correct nozzle height and practice spraying at comfort
- Add clean water to clean sprayer
- Don’t move anywhere leaving the pesticides in the field
- Never work alone when handling or applying pesticides
- If you feel unwell then do not work with chemicals
- Do not spray if target leaves and stems are wet or if it is about to rain
Precautions after application of pesticides
- Operators should wash hand, feet, mouth and other parts thoroughly with soap and fresh water.
- Take a shower or bath at the end of the day.
- Shower thoroughly paying special attention to hair and fingernails, after pesticide application is complete.
- Sticking of pesticides with any part of body requires washing by soap
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating, drinking or smoking
- Don’t wash the empty tin, bucket, mug and bottle of pesticides in pond
- Do not use the empty containers of pesticides for any purpose, preferably for keeping condiments, spices or mustard oil.
- Destroy the empty containers by making holes and bury them afterwards.
- Do not feed the leaves of treated plants to animals at least for one week.
- Do not feed grass weeds from pesticide treated field to the animals for one month.
- The contaminated water as a result of washing the equipment and drums must be disposed of by scattering it over the barren land or in the deep pit.
- Left –over pesticides suspension should be pour into a hole at least 100 meters away from streams, wells and houses.
- Harvest the vegetable after knowing the stability of pesticides in that vegetable after application of pesticides
- Do not burn weedicide cartons, but bury them deep in the soil.
- Do not re-enter in treated crop until it is safe.
- Use a sign that indicates area has recently sprayed
Due to the impact of green revolution, globalization and population explosion, agriculture has got top priority in our country. It is difficult to imagine of modern pest control and agricultural programmes without some forms of chemical compounds. Agrochemicals are toxic, harmful and corrosive. However, they need not be hazardous to human and non-target animal species if suitable precautions are taken. Therefore, there is need of sustainable agriculture concerning environmental equilibrium and health of human being and other creatures. IPM is in central position of sustainable agriculture. Among the several IPM measures, application of agrochemicals is in central position. Therefore, the extension agencies should be more careful to organize various awareness programmes on pesticides use through method demonstration, result demonstration as well as other means.
Department of Agricultural Extension, College of Agriculture,
Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Agricultural Farm-713101; Burdwan, West Bengal, India;