An assessment of the impacts of pesticide use on the environment and health of rice farmers in Sierra Leone

Sankoh, Alhaji Ibrahim and Whittle, Rebecca Kate and Semple, Kirk Taylor and Jones, Kevin Christopher and Sweetman, Andrew James (2016) An assessment of the impacts of pesticide use on the environment and health of rice farmers in Sierra Leone. Environment International, 94. pp. 458-466. ISSN 0160-4120

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Abstract

One of the biggest challenges faced by Sierra Leonean farmers is pest control. Birds, rodents, insects, crustaceans and other organisms can drastically reduce yields. In order to prevent these organisms from destroying their crop, farmers use pesticides. However there are reports that these chemicals are being misused and such misuse is having a negative impact on the environment and the health of the farmers. This research study aimed to investigate the use of pesticides in rice fields and its potential effects on the environment and on the farmers of Sierra Leone. Five hundred farmers and one hundred health workers across the country were interviewed. Fifty focus group discussions were also completed. Field observations were also undertaken to see how farmers apply pesticides to their farms and the possible threats these methods have on human health and the environment. It is clear that a wide range of pesticides are used by rice farmers in Sierra Leone with 60% of the pesticides used entering the country illegally. Most farmers have no knowledge about the safe handling of pesticides as 71% of them have never received any form of training. The pesticides kill both target and non-target organisms some of which enter the food chain. Cases of health problems such as nausea, respiratory disorders and blurred vision investigated in this research are significantly higher among farmers who use pesticides than those who do not use pesticides. Cases of pesticide intoxication are not investigated by health workers but results obtained from interviews with them also indicated that cases of pesticides related symptoms are significantly higher in environments where pesticides are used than those in which pesticides are not used.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Environment International
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Environment International. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Environment International, 94, 2016 DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2016.05.034
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2300
Subjects:
ID Code:
80079
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
16 Jun 2016 07:54
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
25 Sep 2020 02:37