Pesticide pollution is literally killing farmers and making people sick. Raw materials like cotton require pests, even organic cotton is draining the environment. The only solution to reduce pesticide pollution and reverse the damage caused by it is hemp clothing.
First things first.
What are pesticides and what is pesticide pollution?
Pesticides are chemicals that are used to kill or control pests. It’s an umbrella term for a variety of chemicals.
- Herbicides used to get rid of weeds.
- Insecticides used to treat fungicides.
- Fungicides kill or prevent the growth of fungi and their spores.
- Nematicides used to control nematodes (plant parasites).
- Rodenticides used to treat vertebrate poisoning.
Pesticides are also often used to kill mosquitoes and prevent malaria.
So, what is the problem with these chemicals? They seem necessary and crucial to eliminate pests.
Let me tell you.
These pests contain ingredients such as oxygen, chlorine, sulfur, phosphorus, nitrogen, and bromine. They even contain heavy metals such as arsenic, copper sulfates, lead, and mercury.
Pesticides are toxic and interfere with the environment.
Pesticide pollution occurs when these pesticides run off farming lands and come in contact with natural resources.
Heavy rainfall or wind in the farming land can cause the pests to come into contact with unintended areas. Here they come into contact with our clean air, water, land, plants, and animals and thereby, contaminate them. This can potentially harm us and our resources.
Pesticides are killing our farmers and our planet
These pesticides are sprayed over large areas of land. Over 95% of herbicides and over 98% of insecticides do not reach the targeted pest.
Once these pesticides come into contact with our resources, they become unsuitable for use. If used, these resources pose serious, long-term threats to our home, our planet.
They affect a number of plant and animal species.
Even if the pesticides do not come into contact with our resources, the use of pesticides itself is harmful.
- The soil contains naturally occurring organisms, microbes. These microbes are good for the plant. They break down organic materials in the soil and absorb water as well as nutrients which help the plants grow. Pesticides can kill these useful microbes inhibiting the growth of plants.
- The general quality of soil degrades due to the use of pesticides. The use of pesticides makes the soil less fertile and hence, there is less yield. This means that the farmers have to use more fertilizers.
- Pesticides stay in the environment long after they have been used on agricultural lands. Hence, heavy wind or rainfall can send them to water bodies. Once they reach water bodies, they pose a threat to aquatic life. They can kill and depopulate fishes.
- In the US, 90% of all water wells are polluted with pesticides. Rain and groundwater sources have also been found to be contaminated. Our drinking water has become unsafe due to pesticides.
- Pesticides are toxic, hence, they can degrade the quality of air around agricultural lands. People close to such lands inhale this air and as a consequence can fall sick.
- These pesticides can also be carried across long distances. Our ecosystems have been contaminated with pesticides. You and I may be breathing in unsafe air that can cause respiratory diseases.
- Pesticides can kill plants and trees. Hence, the uptake of carbon dioxide reduces. This interferes with the natural thermal balance.
- Pesticide use is also directly linked to the constantly declining bee population. Bees are vital to plant pollination and our sustenance.
- Pesticides can also make their way through the food chain, harming mammals.
None of us are safe from the use of pesticides. Every part of our food system, producers, workers, and consumers are all at risk. The people who shoulder the most risk are our farmers who are using pesticides as well as working on the agricultural land.
Your clothes in the cupboard are to blame
Our cupboards are filled with clothes made primarily from cotton and polyester. And I understand why, they are cheap, easy to maintain and they are easily available.
Cotton is the most pesticide-intensive crop in the world. It consumes a quarter of the world’s pesticides. Herbicides and chemical defoliants are also sometimes used to aid mechanical cotton harvesting.
In the U.S., $3,300,000,000 worth of pesticides are sprayed on conventionally grown cotton a year.
These chemicals often stay in the fabric after they are finished manufacturing. These chemicals are released during the lifetime of the garments. The garment can be toxic to your skin.
Raw cotton is dyed with heavy chemicals and heavy metals which pollute the environment further.
Other fabrics, such as polyester, are artificial. Polyester is derived from coal, air, water, and petroleum.
More than 60% of the garments you come across have polyester. To reduce pesticide pollution, your alternative should not be polyester. Polyester is a huge burden on our limited resources and is extremely harsh on the skin. Polyester releases two to three times more carbon emissions than cotton.
The textile industry has been capitalizing on these fibers while paying no heed to environmental degradation. They are exploiting your unawareness.
However, you can stop this. You can be a part of a revolution.
Meet the solution: Hemp
I present to you, the only other acceptable sustainable alternative, hemp.
Hemp is an eco-friendly crop. The hemp plant is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species.
I know what you’re thinking, marijuana. That is a common misconception about hemp.
Cannabis as a drug and industrial hemp are both derived from the species Cannabis sativa. They both contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, you cannot get high from hemp. The lower concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), rids hemp of its psychoactive effects.
Hemp is an extremely useful and no-waste plant. Each part of the plant can be put to a different use. Hemp can be used to make paper clothes and can even prove useful in construction. In all these commodities, hemp proves to be the more sustainable alternative.
Hemp clothing is the key to pesticide-free textile future
Hemp plants can be converted into hemp fabric.
We use the stalk to extract long strands of fibers. These fibers are spun to make a continuous thread, which are woven together to make all-natural hemp fabric.
This fabric can be easily dyed with organic and all-natural dyes. So, you don’t have to worry about the chemicals being used in the dye or the heavy metals.
The fabric is completely safe for your skin.
Hemp is not only stopping pesticide pollution but has the pollution to reverse the damage caused by other crops.
- Hemp can grow without any fertilizer. It requires minimum attention by the farmers and is easy to harvest. It also requires less attention from you. Hemp clothing is very easy to maintain and gets softer with each wash.
- Hemp is highly pest-resistant. Hence, it does not require pesticides or insecticides. Your hemp fabric will have no chemicals.
- Hemp plants grow very quickly and densely, which makes it difficult for weeds to take hold, eliminating the need for herbicides and artificial fertilizers.
- It’s a high-yield and low-input crop. Apart from not requiring pesticides, it doesn’t consume much water either. It thrives on the amount of water in the average rainfall. Hemp grows really fast and can be cultivated up to four times a year.
- Hemp plants can absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide. In fact, hemp can trap 1.63 tonnes of carbon dioxide per tonne of hemp harvested. Hence, in areas where pesticides have killed plants and trees, hemp can restore the thermal balance and improve the quality of air.
- Hemp can be grown on infertile lands. It binds the soil and enriches it with its deep roots. Hence, it can improve the soil quality for other crops.
- Hemp fabric is lightweight and highly breathable. It can protect your skin from UV rays and is also resistant to mold, mildew, and potentially harmful microbes.
With hemp fabric, you do not have to sacrifice quality. Rather, your clothing can last two times longer than your cotton clothing.
You get a premium fabric in return for helping heal the environment.
Lead the change by switching to Hemp clothing
Sustainability is the need of the hour. We may not be the principal cause of environmental degradation but we can lead the change. And this change can start with hemp.
Hemp is the only solution. Switching to organic clothing is not.
You might think that organic cotton is the easier and equally effective solution, but it’s not. Organic does not mean chemical-free. Organic means that only a limited number of approved chemicals are allowed in cultivation.
Even though organic cotton can reduce pest pollution, it is taxing the environment in other ways. In the absence of proper farming methods to ensure sustainability, organic cotton can use more water than traditional cotton. Organic cotton fields yield 40 percent less than conventional cotton.
Hemp is our miracle solution, and it’s your job to create the demand.