Pesticides and herbicides have created two major problems by persisting and accumulating in the environment and contaminating numerous plants and animals and secondly they affect human health directly or indirectly. Pesticides can pollute air, water and soil and can have harmful effects on plants and human beings. They can also be hazardous for all forms of aquatic life.

Most pesticides such as DDT, DDE, DDD, dieldrin and heptachlor epoxide and most herbicides such as 2,3,5_T( 245 trichlorophenoxy acetic acid ) dioxin have been extensively used for control of diseases and crop destroying insects. The most common fertilizers used are DAP, MOP, Urea and Rock phosphate. These fertilizers provide Nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium which are very vital to plant growth are being extensively used in the Andaman islands. This practice is leading to Eutrophication of nearby coastal area leading to degradation of coasts. These inputs are chemicals which are non biodegrable pollutants that do not degrade or degrade very slowly. Thus they contaminate the ecosystem and enter food chains. Since they become more concentrated at higher trophic levels causing bioaccumulation and biomagnifications. Certain pesticides have mutational effects on human DNA molecules. DDT which is commonly used is reported to have lethal effects in small doses. It is also suspected to be carcinogenic in human tissues.

There are 10,414 land holdings in the Islands. The average land each household has two acres of paddy land and two acres of hilly land. The utilization of land and water by the farmer is not efficient so farming becomes uneconomical. In the present agriculture practice greater use of chemical fertilizer is creating problems of salinity, affecting water table and day by fields per hectare are going down. Soils are being degraded due to soil erosion and leaching of plant nutrients. Agro forestry is a system which combines the benefits of forest ecosystem and agricultural practices which seems to be ideally suited to the islands.

Visualizing the damaging effects of pesticide and fertilizer pollution biofertilizer seems to be a good alternative. The concept of biofertilizer such as Vermicompost is gaining momentum and has the potential to reduce the environmental costs accrued to use of fertilizer and pesticides. Organically grown vegetables are also being explored by various multinationals and health conscious individuals. In South Andaman’s and Little Andaman’s about 800 organic vegetable gardens have been set up for tsunami affected women beneficiaries under the backyard Agro forestry promotion of ADRA India NGO. They also produce and use Vermicompost.