Non-organic or genetically engineered (GE) cotton
Non-organic or GE cotton is called the world’s dirtiest crop. It makes up less than 2.5 percent of the global cropland, but consumes a larger proportion of hazardous agricultural chemicals. Non-organic cotton production typically uses nearly 7 percent of all herbicides, 10 percent of all pesticides and 16 to 25 percent of all insecticides.
These substances lead to major hazards because they cause environmental pollution, and can harm farmers working with these chemicals, families living near cotton plants and consumers buying cotton clothing.
In particular, genetically engineered Bt cotton, which was introduced in 2002, was supposed to produce its own internal pesticide and help reduce insecticide use. However, Bt cotton not only needed more sprayings than indigenous cotton, with farmers spraying 13 times more chemicals, but it also paved the way for the development of new chemical-resistant plants.