Fumigant Pesticides

Ariel Adame

Article Citation:

Jones, Donna. "California Regulators Clamp down on Fumigant Pesticides." - San Jose Mercury News. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Jan. 2015.

Summary:

The article summarizes the last couple years dealing with the use of pesticides, mainly methyl bromide and chloropicrin. It discusses the pros and cons of pesticides, and how they affect the environment and the plants. Mainly, the use of pesticides increases the productivity of farmers and producers, as well as the wealth they gain. The pesticides kill insects or other pests that may be feeding off the crops; these pests decrease the value of the crops as well as destroy the produce they create. However, the article highlights the feud between crop industries such as strawberry and raspberry farmers and the Department of Pesticide Regulation/public safety. The argument comes down to production value vs. public safety, which is an ongoing concern for the public. The article also has a couple of different alternatives of pesticides, each with its own pros and cons. The biggest problem with these alternatives is money and excess land and water. Unfortunately, a lot of money is being used in order to research different ways, but the article specifies that there has not been a great solution that is both safe for the environment/public, and is economically stable.

Ethical Issue:

The main problem with this environmental problem is public safety vs. economics and production. There has been a lot of work to find alternatives to pesticides, but each has its own trade-offs. For example. the use of steam to cleanse the soil before farmers plant their crops is not dangerous to the public but is expensive, time-consuming, and uses large amounts of fossil fuel and water. The problem is the fact that it's very hard to find an ethical answer to the problem that caters to security, economics, and the environment all at the same time. The ethical issue of sustainability and the seventh generation rule applies; even though there are many different prospective solutions to the problem, we have to look for the best alternative that will less likely to prove the most detrimental to the environment in the future. On the flip side, because many people rely on these crops for their livelihoods, the use of alternatives can potentially decrease production and slow the process, making it harder to obtain revenue.

My Position:

I'm definitely not in favor of pesticide usage, but I'm also not in favor of some of the alternatives such as soil replacement (growing in sterile materials such as peat of coconot coir;pest-free but limited material availability), mustard seed (natural fumigant/fertilizer but limited to soil temp and increased water consumption), and solar (heat trapped under tarp on wet soil to kill pets; inexpensive, but has a small depth reach and does not work well in cool coastal climates). I personally believe that in the future we can find an alternative that won't be detrimental to the environment, unsafe for the public, yet is economically stable.

Question:

What do you think we should do about this situation? After all, if pesticides were to be left alone, the environment would be left to suffer; however, if we remove them, people are going to end up paying much more for strawberries, raspberries, and other crops. Are we willing to pay more to protect the environment?