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Pesticide Atlas: Around 385 million people poisoned with pesticides every year

by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)

Pesticide spraying in a field
Many young people are calling for an end to pesticide use. © Oticki / Shutterstock

The environmental organisation BUND and the Heinrich Böll Foundation have compiled facts and figures that clearly show how dangerous synthetic pesticides are.

The Pesticide Atlas 2022 shows that the amount of pesticides used worldwide has increased by 80 percent since 1990, most strongly in South America and Africa. There, the four large pesticide manufacturers Bayer, BASF, Corteva and Synganta (combined market share of 70 percent) also sell active ingredients that have long been banned in Europe because they are dangerous. According to the Pesticide Atlas, around 385 million people suffer from pesticide poisoning every year. People in the global South who work in rural areas are particularly affected.

According to the Atlas, about 350,000 tonnes of pesticide active substances are used in the EU every year. The atlas also provides figures comparing organically and conventionally farmed areas. These show that plant species diversity is 17 times higher on farmland that has been managed organically for many years than on conventional farmland.

A study in Upper Franconia in Germany also showed that fields managed without pesticides had twenty times the species richness of pollinators. On conventional fields, on the other hand, there were five times more aphids – because the beneficial organisms were missing, without which even more pesticides are necessary.

Olaf Bandt, Chair of the BUND, said: "The loss of biodiversity worldwide is dramatic and can only be stopped if the use of agricultural poisons is significantly reduced". Bandt demanded "legislative action" from the German government. The total amount of pesticides must be reduced by 50 per cent and particularly dangerous pesticides must be banned.

To substantiate the demand, BUND and the Böll Foundation had young people between the ages of 16 and 29 surveyed. More than 60 percent of them were in favour of banning the use of pesticides by 2035. This was also demanded by the European citizens' initiative Save Bees and Farmers.


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