The book, Silent Spring, written by Rachel Carson reminds us of how the effort to control insects in the past has created problems in our ecosystem including animals, plants, and humans. Rachel Carson explained the effect of pesticides on our environment and how animals, and plants food were the victims of man’s obsession to control pests without realizing the potential threat that would cause serious problems in the ecosystem. Due to Silent Spring, people began to realize the negative impact that pesticides can have.
Not only do these substances kill target pests, but they were also killing animals, getting into water supplies, and killing organic matter in the soil. Now people began to turn away from the idea of using pesticides such as DDT and start looking for alternative pest prevention measures. Today there are new ideas and strategies are being used to battle against pests to protect humans and other living animals in our environment.
To understand the new technology, ideas, and measures that are being taken today, it is important to understand how pesticides were used in the past.
Furthermore, one must go a step further to conclude why the past measurements were considered to be inappropriate thus bringing us to the measures being taken today. In the past, we were not quite sure what long-term effects, if any that pesticides might have. When applying pesticides one must take into considering operation the amount that remains on the plant as compared to the amount that is washed away by rain, carried off by the wind, or absorbed by microorganisms and other living animals.
In the case of DDT, or Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane which was first synthesized in 1874 was thought to be a miracle due to the impact that it served in World War II fighting off diseases as well as its many uses from stability in soil and aquatic environments to killing pests in our backyard. Some called it the Savior of Mankind because of its low cost, high availability, potency, and apparent safety. But, it was unknown to the people at that time that DDT, an organic synthetic insecticide of the chlorinated hydrocarbon group, is potentially deadly to not only insects but mammals as well. By attacking the central nervous system DDT affects the normal transmission of nerve impulses which can lead to death. Birds affected by DDT have reproductive problems ranging from eggshell formation to direct offspring retardation for shell-less species. Plants are also affected and research is being conducted on the possible inhibition of making plant plankton, on which all marine life depends. As mentioned before, chemicals that are applied in abundance and then wash away contaminate rivers and lakes. Our very own drinking water is contaminated by that, and the chemicals that are taken away by wind pollute the air. Today society has new technology to prevent pests. Instead of using chemicals now use the science of biotechnology to provide us with an answer. We hope this will help us to build a better community.