DDT: DANGEROUS OR BENEFICIAL? 6
DDT:Dangerous or Beneficial?
Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane,DDT, has widely been used as an insecticide for both agriculturalpurposes and malaria control. An American biologist, Rachel Carson,published a book detailing the environmental effects of DDT. He wasagainst the indiscriminate use of the pesticide in the US as hequestioned the lack of understanding on the negative effects on theenvironment and human health. He argued that the pesticide causedcancer on human beings. He also alleged that it endangered thewildlife. His publication led to a ban on its usage in the country in1972. Later, the global community banned its usage for agriculturalpurposes following the StockholmConvention. After the convention, the pesticide is only used onlimitation to disease vector control. Despite the controversy, it hasgained approval on its ability to help in minimizing the malariadeaths around the world. Its effectiveness in combating malaria isseen to outpace the health and environmental concerns.
Currently,the controversy surrounds those who want it banned since it isharmful to the environment and those who want it used as it does notharm human beings. The controversy is largely to the need to saveboth human life and wildlife. The matter generates concerns thatcannot be wished away easily. WorldHealth Organization hasalready allowed its usage for indoor spraying to control malaria. Itis imperative to observe that the natural environment influenceshuman life. As such, any dangers to the environment have negativeeffects to the life of human being. Negative effects to theenvironment cannot be underestimated especially on the resultanteffects to human welfare. That not withstanding, human beings need toutilize the appropriate measures to minimize the negative effects toboth the environment and human life. I believe that DDT hasbeneficial outcomes to human life if it is used in moderation.
Overtime, scientific studies continue around the world to examine thesignificance of using DDT. Studies also explore approaches to help inreducing the negative effects but at the same time allow its usagefor malaria control. It is widely believed among the researchers thatDDT is instrumental in saving human life if it is used inappropriately. Proper use will help in reducing the negative effectsto wildlife. It is for this reason that the proponents call for aliberal approach in using DDT. Malaria is a leading killer disease inthe contemporary society. According to the WorldHealth Organization,malaria kills about 200 million in the world annually. With such highfigures, the world needs to worry about the importance of developingstrategies to minimize the deaths. Both state and non-state actorshave continuously engaged in research activities and awareness tohelp in formulating approaches that will reduce malaria deaths. DDThas been found to reduce the prevalence rates of the disease.Researchers recommend that DDT should be sprayed indoors to reducethe harmful effects to the environment and wildlife. In Africa, thedeaths take a significant portion of about 90 percent. South Africahas reported progress in combating the disease by using DDT in theaffected areas. DDT repels and kills mosquitoes that cause malaria.Over time, mosquitoes have proved to be resistant to other pesticideshence making DDT more appropriate. The other reason that makes DDTbeneficial is the price. It is alleged that DDT is about quartercheaper compared to other malaria medications. As such, using thepesticide to control malaria will effectively make it affordable tothe African nations whose majority is poor.
ManyAmericans believe that DDT is a killer pesticide. It is true that thepesticide kills wildlife hence destroy the ecosystem. Many nationsaround the world have signed a treaty to discontinue using DDT.Nonetheless, countries such as South Africa continue to use thepesticide to control malaria. Apparently, majority of the westernnations have banned the pesticide little do they the dangers faced bythe African population. Malaria is reported to stagnate a country’seconomy by about 15 percent. Such figures ought to worry the globalcommunity in their policies regarding the usage of DDT. According toTren & Roberts (2010), exposure to DDT presents health risks butthere no actual harm resulting from the exposure. Aneck-Hahn,Et al (2007)note that increased exposure to DDT has negative effects on thereproductive health of an individual. Already, WHOhas allowed the indoor usage of DDT to control malaria. It has provento be a cost-effective approach in the control of malaria(Longnecker,2005). Currently,there is appropriate vaccine for malaria. It would thus beappropriate to use DDT until such a time when the researchers willdevelop appropriate vaccine or medication for malaria. It is notableDDT helped in eliminating malaria in the developed nations yet theyadvocate for its ban(Schapira, 2006).
Itis also important to observe that spraying DDT indoors does notnecessarily yield positive results. Mosquitoes found outdoors remainunaffected by the pesticide. DDT has negative effects on the humanhealth as it contributes to health problems such as cancer andpremature births. Studies indicate that DDT travels through the foodchain hence affecting the wildlife. Usage of DDT needs to be done inmoderation to reduce the negative effects to the environment. WorldHealth Organization alongsideother actors needs to develop appropriate measures that will resultin the development of alternative measures to control malaria.Further, uniform policies are required to eradicate theindiscriminate use that contributes to mosquito resistance. Awarenessis also necessary to help in giving people the right informationabout the pesticide. Some people use it without the knowledge aboutits negative effects. State and non-state actors need to cometogether to generate this form of awareness. It is also prudent forhuman beings to be mindful about the environment much as they areconcerned about their welfare.
Itis clear that the negative effects arising from using DDT areoutweighed by its potential to save lives after looking at the matterseriously. What the policy makers need to examine is the approachesto employ when using the pesticide. Researchers need to continuedeveloping better pesticides and medications that will reducemalaria. Indiscriminate usage of DDT has contributed to mosquitoresistance to pesticides. Opponents of DDT use are largely concernedabout its effects to the environment. Majority are ignorant about theeffects to human life for not using DDT to control malaria. Thatbeing the case, the world needs to come together to generate a commonapproach on when and how to use DDT. Human beings should not diebecause the world wants to protect the environment. Using DDT inmoderation will help in addressing the challenges brought about bythe increasing malaria prevalence.
Aneck-Hahn,N. H., Schulenburg, G. W., Bornman, M. S., Farias, P., & Jager,C. d. (2007). Impaired semen quality associated with environmentalDDT exposure in young men living in a malaria area in the LimpopoProvince, South Africa. Journalof Andrology,28(3), 423–434.
Longnecker,M. P. (2005). Invited commentary: Why DDT matters now. AmericanJournal of Epidemiology,168(2), 726-728.
Schapira,A. (2006). DDT: A polluted debate in malaria control. ScienceDirect,368,2111–2113.
Tren,R., & Roberts, D. (2010). DDT and malaria prevention.EnvironmentalHealth Perspectives,118(1),A14–A15.