The Negative Impact Of Chemical Fertilisers In The Gaza Strip – Alaa Mahdi Kudaih, Gaza, Palestine

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Farmers using chemical fertilizers in the crops.

Cancer is considered to be a one of the most common diseases for any human being, regardless of age and gender, and is also one of leading causes of death in the world.

Dr. Sa’ab Alewiny, an assistant professor at the Islamic University, said “Cancer kills 22% of people, making this disease the second [largest] cause of death in the world after heart diseases.”

There are many contributing factors that may lead to cancer, the most important being:

Smoking

Smoking is behind approximately 30% of deaths and 87% of lung cancer cases. It not only negatively affects the lungs, but it also leads to kidney, pancreas, uterine, cervical and stomach cancer, as well as blood pressure.

Environmental factors

Some chemical compounds found in building materials, like asbestos, cause a variety of medical problems. Studies has shown that individuals who are exposed to large quantities of petrol are more susceptible to develop cancer later.

Chemical fertilizers  

After research, that aimed to study the main factor behind cancer in Gaza, was conducted, it was discovered that this increase is due to the increased usage of chemical fertilizers in agriculture, as approximately 60% of the agricultural products are contaminated with these toxic substances.

There are many reasons why Gazan farmers were forced to use chemical fertilizers. The most important reason was the significant population rise, which further limited the available arable land.  Farmers opted to use chemical fertilizers, hoping to grow crops of higher quality and larger quantity, in order to meet the needs of the growing population.

The wide usage of chemical fertilizers has had many negative effects that are easily observable, both on humans and on the soil as well. It severely pollutes groundwater, limiting the quantity of potable water in a region where water is already quite scarce. This leads to further desertification, despite the fact that people are running out of land. In addition to this, the “Toxicity Syndrome” may deteriorate general health. As for the plants, it has been proven that over time they will lose the ability to retain water, thus further increasing the demand for water.

One of the most important compounds that is commonly found in fertilisers is Nimacor, which is often used in very abusive quantities. Recently, many poisoning and cancer cases have been diagnosed, forcing people to ask the government to pass a series of strict regulations regarding these fertilizers. Hopefully, the government will take action by taking samples of the plants in question and, consequently, punishing every farmer who goes over the prescribed limit.

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