Water pollution from agriculture: a global review - executive summary

  • 27/08/2017
  • FAO

This executive summary of the FAO report, briefly reviews the “unsustainable trajectory followed by agri-food systems” and draws attention to “hotspots where crop production, livestock and aquaculture may be the key contributors to the degradation of water quality.”

Agricultural pressures on water quality – from crop and livestock production as well as aquaculture – have greatly intensified in recent decades, with significant negative impacts on human health and the environment. Aquaculture alone has expanded 20-fold since the 1980s. This and other changes derive from rapid population growth, dietary change and rising food demand. The executive summary briefly reviews the “unsustainable trajectory followed by agri-food systems” and draws attention to “hotspots where crop production, livestock and aquaculture may be the key contributors to the degradation of water quality.” Next, the authors examines the main agricultural contributors to water pollution: nutrients, pesticides, salts, sediments, organic matter, pathogens and emerging pollutants that include substances such as antibiotics and growth hormones.

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