John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Mitigating pesticide pollution in China requires law enforcement, farmer training, and technological innovation

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Courtesy of John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

To feed an ever‐growing population, it is necessary to take all measures to increase crop yields, including the use of pesticides. It has long been a difficult task to boost agricultural production and simultaneously minimize the impact of pesticide application on the environment, particularly in China, a developing country with more than 1.3 billion people. China has recently become the world's leading producer and consumer of pesticides, with production and consumption reaching 265 tons and 179 tons, respectively, in 2011, and a national average pesticide application dosage of more than 14 kg/ha. The large quantities of pesticides applied in agricultural fields have resulted in serious environmental deterioration. Organochlorine pesticides, such as dichloro‐diphenyl‐trichloroethane and hexachlorohexane, have become ubiquitous in the environment of China, with spatial distributions in soils and aquatic systems similar to their historic application patterns in different geographic regions: southeast > central > northwest. Pollution by current‐use pesticides, for example, organophosphates and pyrethroids, has also been of great concern. To mitigate pesticide pollution in China, a significant reduction in pesticide inputs into the environment is mandatory. This can be accomplished only with joint efforts by the government, professionals, and citizens in combination with rigorous enforcement of laws and regulations, training of farmers in pesticide knowledge and environmental awareness, and technological innovation for producing low‐risk pesticides and developing efficient application approaches. Restoring contaminated sites is also an urgent task. Finally, food security and environmental pollution are not problems for a sole country, and international cooperation and communication are necessary. Environ Toxicol Chem 2014;33:963–971. © 2014 SETAC

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