Soils in India contaminated with pesticides

Photo credit: LivingLandscapeArchitecture Photo credit: LivingLandscapeArchitecture

A new study looking at agricultural fields in India shows that pesticides have contaminated local soils. The paper, published in the journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research, focused on the presence and distribution of organochlorine pesticides in the Kuttanad agroecosystem in India. Kuttanad is predominantly a wetland area, and is part of international ecological importance due to its ability to house high levels of biodiversity and help mitigate environmental damage. Researchers found 16 pesticide residues in their study area, including α-BHC, β-BHC, γ-BHC, δ-BHC, α-chlordane, γ-chlordane, heptachlor, 4,4-DDT, 4,4-DDE, 4,4-DDD, α-endosulfan, β-endosulfan, aldrin, dieldrin, endrin aldehyde, and endrin ketone. While some pesticide presence was historical in origin, the researchers’ analysis of pesticide distribution patterns also revealed recent applications of the organochlorines contaminating their soil samples. These pesticides are all part of the priority pollutant list of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and are of environmental concern.