The Environmental Positives and Negatives of GMO Use
In terms of effects on the environment, GMOs present positives and negatives. The positives are: A decrease in the use of herbicides and insecticides, less carbon dioxide emissions due to no-till farming, and the increase of productivity per acre. The negatives are: An increase in herbicide use due to use of Roundup Ready GMOs, the development of resistance to glyphosate, the development of resistance to insecticides such as Bt.
Two professors, A.M. Mannion of University Reading and Stephen Moore of University Surrey, both of the UK, wrote in the article “Biotechnology In Agriculture: Agronomic And Environmental Considerations And Reflections Based Nn 15 Years Of GM Crops:” In it hey note that the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) has been very beneficial in regard to the decrease of herbicide and insecticide use. This is a great positive because with the decrease in the use of chemicals to combat these pests, less agricultural chemical soaks into the ground potentially contaminating the ground water. Mannion and Moore described the benefits in their article:
A less obvious but still significant and beneficial impact of GM crops is a shift from more toxic to less toxic pesticides. One example of this is the shift from using metolachlor, a herbicide which contaminates groundwater and which may have adverse toxicological effects on aquatic organisms, to the much more environmentally friendly glyphosate in GM soybean production, especially in the USA (755).
Along with the positive of less chemical use on GMO crops comes the positive of a smaller carbon footprint. Since there is less need of chemicals, there is less use of the farm machinery, which depend on fossil fuels to operate. Another point to consider with the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions is the development of no-till methods of farming. Scientist, P. Christou, wrote in "The Application of GMOs in Agriculture and in...