South Asia Environmental Capacity Building- Agricultural and Water Pollution Project
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (2016), among the three-major global water consuming sectors-agriculture (irrigation, livestock watering, aquaculture), municipalities (domestic, municipal) and industry- the agriculture sector consumes the most, with a global average of 70%. The South Asian economy is predominantly agro-based and has the potential to feed one third of the global population. Escalating the situation, agriculture in South Asia withdraws 91% of water-well over the global average and much higher compared to other sectors (ibid). In addition, agriculture contributes to water quality degradation through various pollutants, namely nutrients such as nitrate, ammonia or phosphate; pesticides; salts; sediments; organic matter; pathogens; metals; drug residue; hormones and feed additives (FAO, 2017). Toxic pesticides, chemical fertilizers and other matter saturate farmlands, leach into ground waters, rivers, lakes and oceans, and spread toxic chemicals. The land and water are then contaminated with harmful toxins. These toxins enter the water we drink and food we eat, resulting in health hazards for human beings and animals. This also has negative impact on livelihoods, the environment, ecosystem, health and well-being.