Agricultural water pollution: data on the impact ofagricultureon the environment and in particular on water pollution.
Agriculture, water consumption and pollution
L'water it has an essential utility in the life of each of us and plays a leading role also in various industrial sectors, first of all, the agricultural sector.
In Italy, over 60% of water consumption is linked toagriculture. The high water consumption is not the only environmental impact that agriculture exerts on the aquifers. Italian waters undergo thepollutiondictated by the massive use, in agriculture, of pesticides and fertilizers. The data on water pollution related to agriculture are truly alarming.
Agricultural water pollution
The Italian waters, whether they are underground or superficial, they are contaminated by the massive presence of pollutants, pesticides are at the forefront. This alarming reality was highlighted in the national report of Ispra, with data collected in the period 2013 - 2014 and in the last two years no precautions have been taken to bring about a change in trend.
According to the national report of Ispra (Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Research), 63.9% of surface waters contain pesticides (glyphosate * in the lead), the same contaminants polluted 31.7% of groundwater.
The regions that see a much higher than average presence of pesticides (in some cases even 95%) are Veneto, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, Tuscany and Umbria.
L'pollution from pesticidesit shouldn't come as a surprise when you think about the massive use the agricultural sector makes of it. In Italy alone, about 130 thousand tons of plant protection products are used every year and the quantities increase from year to year. In parallel also theagricultural water pollutionmarks worsening from two years to two years:
Over 29 thousand water samples were analyzed for a total of 1,351,781 measurements, with an increase of 4.3% and 11.8% respectively over the 2012-2013 period.
In surface waters, plant protection products were found in 63.9% of the cases of the 1,284 monitored monitoring points. In 2012 alone, with the same number of control points, the percentage was 56.9% (-7%). For groundwater, 2,463 points were checked and of these, 31.7% were found to be contaminated.
Coldiretti, in commenting on the data released byHigher Institute for Environmental Protection and Research stated that the amount of plant protection products used by the agricultural world has halved over the past 10 years. According to Coldiretti, the agricultural sector has seen an overall decline of 76 thousand tons (-45.2%) of plant protection products in the last decade.
* glyphosate, chemically known as N- (phosphonomethyl) glycine (molecular formula C3H8NO5P) is a broad spectrum herbicide used for weed control.
Agriculture and nitrogen pollution
The reactive form of nitrogen is heavily used as a fertilizer for industrial crops. For many years, scientists have considered reactive nitrogen to be responsible for harmful processes ranging from the loss of biodiversity to global warming, not to mention the numerous damage caused byozone pollution. Eliminate the use of fertilizers, for the world ofindustrial agricultureit is out of the question, as is limiting the use of pesticides. Yet there is no lack of agricultural practices to limit the use of fertilizers, pesticides and even irrigation water.
To mention one of the latest technologies in the agricultural world, we point out the use of GPS. Using GPS technology, it is possible to use fertilizers and pesticides only when strictly necessary, fertilizing and carrying out the treatment directly on the root system of the plant and when needed. This technology is already used abroad for the release, when needed, of chemical fertilizer.
How does it work?
The GPS method -Global Position System- is already in use in the richest areas of the world. The function of the GPS is exactly what we expect: the GPS produces maps of the fields and associates them with estimates regarding the nutritional level of plants.
To estimate the nutritional status of the crop, high-tech devices must be implanted which have a high cost, but thanks to which, the farmer will be able to know in detail when and how much fertilizer to use. In this way all the nitrogen will be dissipated from the plantation and there will be no excesses released into the atmosphere.