Pesticide or Wastewater, Which One is Bigger Culprit for Acute Health Symptoms among Vegetable Growers in Pakistan’s Punjab uri icon

abstract

  • Literature highlights harmful effects of pesticides and untreated wastewater use on farmers' health but none of the studies explore the magnitude of deleterious health effects simultaneously. The objective of the study is to quantify pesticide and untreated wastewater induced health symptoms among vegetable growers and to investigate which one is a bigger culprit. A sample of 830 vegetable growers was selected by stratified random sampling from three major vegetable growing districts of Pakistan's Punjab. A two stage estimation technique is employed to estimate unbiased health effects of vegetable growers after controlling for pesticide endogeneity. The results demonstrate that both untreated wastewater and pesticide quantities are responsible for acute symptoms, but comparison of their scaled coefficients indicates that wastewater is twofold responsible for acute symptoms than pesticide. To minimize these negative effects, a policy of untreated disposal of wastewater in peri-urban areas for crop production needs to be re-designed. The installation of a treatment plant by collecting pollution premium from untreated wastewater emitters seems to be the most sustainable and practically viable option. It is also observed that pesticide is contributing to farmers' acute symptoms; hence, awareness campaigns about judicious and safe use of pesticides may help to mitigate acute symptoms.

publication date

  • 2016
  • 2016