Chemicals are real pests

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 November, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 November, 1997, 12:00am

Pesticides are chemicals used on farms and golf courses, in houses and gardens to kill 'pests'.

A 'pest' is a living thing, often an insect, which human beings consider undesirable.

But only one per cent of the more than one million recorded insect species are a nuisance.

Most help by pollinating plants or breaking down dead plants and animals.

Pesticides are a threat to wildlife, particularly fish and other aquatic organisms.

The shells of eggs laid by birds which have taken up pesticides are so fragile they break before the chick hatches.

Pesticides are also a threat to humans. Their use can cause chemical burns, dizziness and blurred vision. They increase the chances of birth defects and miscarriages.

Another negative effect of pesticides is that so-called 'broad spectrum' poisons kill not only target pests, but also creatures that help us by eating lesser pests.

These lesser pests then become major nuisances.

An increasing number of pests have developed resistance to pesticides.

WWF HK is a charity environmental organisation with a mission to build a future where people live in harmony with nature. For details, call 2526 1011.