The issue of whether to ban GMOs or not has been widely debated for a while now. The proponents of GMO use, most of whom are scientist, have mainly been basing their arguments on the increment in yields and quality of the produce. The opponents of GMO use, on the other hand, have been basing their arguments on the safety of GMO products as well as their interaction with the environment. Without a doubt, all these groups have raised fundamental issues that needs to be looked into. Despite the ongoing debate, the proponents of GMO use seem to be trumping over its opponents. This shown by the fact that the use of GMOs has continued to increase worldwide, especially in farming. GMOs plantation in US was first introduced for commercial purposes in 1996. During that time, farmers view them as an ideal alternative to their crops as it increased their yields as well as improving efficiency through cutting of cost of herbicides and pesticides. Coupled with vigorous campaigns by biotech firms, the belief in GMO continued to grow and spread to all parts of the world, leading to an increase in the use of GMOs. But, is GMO really good or bad? GMOs are absolutely bad. In fact, the negative effects of GMOs and its associated products surpasses that of drug abuse. What then should be the solution? The solution is to ban GMO use in the whole world. They should be banned due to their unknown health consequences, due to their effects on our gene pools and genetic diversity, as well as their destroys our environment and the skewed practices of biotech firms.
First, GMOs use need be banned due to their unknown health consequences. It is never a secret that every one of us would like to live a healthy life. One way in which we can ensure that we live a healthy life is by consuming and using safe products. In addition to using safe products, we should also avoid harmful products. GMOs does not me the qualities of a safe product as their safety of GMOs has remained to be questionable. Scientist have totally failed to prove that GMOs are safe for human consumption and eating them may have undesired consequences. According to Dr. Doris Lin (2016), the amount of time that scientist spend in testing for the safety of GMOs is short and, therefore, cannot be enough to prove the safety of GMOs. Numerous human studies have shown that traces of materials from genetically modified food are left on our system when we consume them. These materials, according to Jeffrey Smith (2011), have the possibility of causing more problems in our bodies. The unhealthy risks of GMO has been shown by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) action of arguing doctors not to prescribe GMO diet to their patients. AAEM understands the side effects that comes with consuming GMO. For instance, they cite animal studies which have revealed gastrointestinal disorders, immune disorders, organ damages, infertility and accelerated aging as the reason for recommending non-GMO prescribed diet to patients. I believe these unhealthy risks of GMO food can also affect a healthy person. The health risks of GMO can also be confirmed by the current trends in the health of the population. The current health trend indicate an upward increase in the incidence of chronic diseases and conditions world-wide. Chronic diseases and conditions such as stroke, cancer, arthritis, chronic respiratory diseases, heart disease, obesity and diabetes are now more prevalent than never before. These diseases, According to the World Health Organization (WHO), are now the leading cause of mortality as they contribute to about 60% of all deaths. US, in particularly has been the most affected by this trend. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of American adults suffer from one or more chronic disease. What do you think caused this increase? Probably, the increase in the number of Americans suffering from chronic diseases was due to cellular alteration of genes by GMOs. In order to stop disease chronic diseases from increasing, we should ban the usage of GMOs.
Secondly, GMOs need to be banned since they contaminate our genetic pools and their contamination are long lasting. The main problem with GMOs is that it contaminates our gene pools with their altered materials. For example, in St. Louis, Missouri, many organic farmers have harvested GM crops with their non-GMO crops, which has resulted in a lot of lawsuit against them by Monsanto. These contamination of products occurred through natural processes of reproduction such as cross-pollinations. This means that GMO contamination cannot be avoided as long as we continue using them. The main problem with GMOs contaminations is that it threaten the existence of organic products, which are currently in demand due to their health benefits. Moreover, when these gene pools are contaminated, they are difficult to fully clean them, which may lead to GMO pollution. According to Jeffrey Smith (2011), the effects of self-propagating GMO pollution will surpass those of nuclear wastes and global warming, which would threaten the existence of life. GMO contamination also causes economic losses as it contaminates products of organic and non-GMO farmers, reducing their earnings. These economic impacts of GMO was confirmed by a study by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). According to the study, GMOs pose a risk to the food and feed trade as GMO contaminated food are either blocked or destroyed by the importing countries. These risks are compounded by the current increase in genetically modified farming. With this increase in GMO farming, gene contamination will continue to escalate. What then can we do? The only solution to GMO contamination problem is to ban their use.
GMO should also be banned since it reduces genetic diversity. Genetic diversity is responsible for the large variety of animals and plants in existence today (Landry, 2015). According to Heather Landry (2015), genetic diversity is important for the survival and adaptability of organisms. With the current changing environment, genetic diversity is becoming more important than ever. However, GMO is threatening this genetic diversity of organisms as it tends to create similar organisms through the process of cross-breeding and uncontrolled growth. With the reduced genetically diversity, organism would find it hard to adapt the changing surrounding. One of the most documented effect of reduced genetic diversity is the planting of potatoes in Ireland in 1800s. During that time, Ireland depended on potatoes for its nutrition. The problem started when farmers started cultivating potatoes from sections of parent potato instead of planting them from seeds. This lead to all potatoes being clones of their parents, with the same genetic materials. Due to lack of genetic diversity, the entire potato plantation was wiped by invasive pathogen called P.infestans, which attacked the potato crops in Ireland. The destruction of potato plantation in Ireland, lead to a great famine, which affected the entire nation. Had farmers in Ireland planted different varieties of potatoes, then the extent of potato destruction would have been minimal. Like the potato farming in Ireland, GMO is creating organisms with similar genetic materials. These new organisms will find it difficult to survive in the changing environment. What shall we do then to maintain our genetic diversity? Just ban the use of GMOs.
GMO should also be banned due to the bad track record of big biotech firms and their skewed practices. Large biotech firms cannot be trusted to handle GMO since they are only driven by profit rather than public interest. These firms are ready to do anything to protect their profits. This has been confirmed by various incidence in which these firms have been found to cause massive toxic contamination and lying to the public. For instance, big biotech firms like Monsanto were caught lying to the public on the safety of DDT, Agent Orange and PCBs. To make matters worse, government institutions, which are supposed to protect the interests of the public have been found to have vested interest in these firms, making it difficult for them to execute their roles. The integrity of these firms is further put in questions by their actions of harassing and suing farmers for infringement rights. This usually occurs when the patented seeds of these biotech firms are found in farmer’s possession, despite the fact that the seeds cross-pollinated the farmer’s crops naturally. To worsen the matter, these firms have started selling sterile seeds to firms so that they cannot last for more than one season. Such actions puts these firms integrity in question and should never be believed. Another reason why these firms should never be trusted is their treatment of scientist who discover anomalies with GMOs. According to Jeffrey Smith (2011), researchers who discover problems with GMOs are usually fired, gagged, threatened and denied funding. Why are these scientist treated like this? It is because they don’t want them to reveal the truth as it will hurt their business. What then should the solution be? The only solution to this problem is to ban these biotech firms and their GMO products.
GMO should also be banned due to their harmful effects on the environment. For the last decade, environmental conservation has gained some momentum. The only problem to these conservation efforts has been the rise in GMO farming. Since the introduction of GMOs, pollution has increased tremendously. Toxicity may be caused by GMOs themselves or by fungicides, herbicide and pesticides that are commonly used with them. Numerous studies have shown that GMOs increases the uses of these compounds, especially herbicides (Hoffman, 2013). For a long time, these compounds have been known to be environmental pollutants as they pollute water, air and soil. These pollutions harm insects, birds, mammals, soil organisms and marine ecosystem. A good example of the effect of the use of these products is the alarming decline in the population of monarch butterflies. According to information from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), the population of monarch butterflies has declined by more than 90 percent in the last 20 years. This decline in population of monarch butterflies has been caused by GMOs. According to Lauren Carroll (2015), monarch butterflies are the greatest victims of GMO use. If the current trend continues, monarch butterflies will surely extinct. Who would really want to lose these beautiful creatures? I believe no one would like to lose them. To prevent the extinction of monarch butterflies and other environmental destructions, GMOs must be banned.
In conclusion, the use of GMOs should be banned, or at the very least, its production be stopped. It has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that the use of GMOs have negative consequences not only for man and its environment, but also for other organisms occupying the planet. In fact labeling them is not enough as it is a way of tolerating their existence. They need to be totally banned. We have already lost some organisms through extinction due to these GMOs and if we continue using them, tend we may risk losing the remaining ecosystems. Birds, fish, insects, amphibians and even mammals including human being are all faced with the reality of being extinct due to these GMOs. If we ban GMOs, we might safe the remaining ecosystem from extinctions.
ARTICLE BY: Vincent Y. Tomno
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