Over the last few decades there has been a decline in the number of pollinators i.e. insects that help in the pollination of flowers and production of fruits. Pollination is the process pollen grains are transferred from the male parts of a flower to the female parts of another. It is the sexual reproduction method of plants following which the ovules mature into seeds and the flowers change into food.
Pollination is a natural process which is beneficial in maintaining the balance of ecosystem and genetic diversity of plants. But due to air pollution and increased use of pesticides, the pollinators like bees are becoming less in number. This is an alarming issue since if the number keeps on decreasing, soon a time will come and the species will become endangered and finally extinct. This will have severe detrimental effects on the environment and human lives.
Let us consider the causes of pollinator decline:-
Studies have linked the excessive use of neonicotinoid pesticides to the decline of bees. These pesticides infect the brains of the bees and hinder them from navigating. The bumble bees cannot collect enough food because of the application of pesticides and hence the queen bees are absent. Also, other insects and pollinators are affected since the pesticides affect the vascular systems of the plants and contaminate the nectar which attracts them.
Another cause for decline of pollinators is air pollution. Air quality is declining due to the presence of radicals like ozone, hydroxyl and nitrates. These radicals combine with the volatile odor of flowers and as a result the fragrance cannot reach the pollinators. The fragrance is the most important factor for inviting the pollinators for pollination. So, in absence of it, they can’t reach the flowers. Also, climatic variation causes the bees to emerge in certain seasons when the flowers do not bloom.
Effects of pollinator decline:
In absence of pollinators, plants who reproduce sexually are not pollinated and hence cannot reproduce. As a result, animals which depend upon these plants for food suffer. This in turn affects the other animals which feed on the former animals. The whole ecosystem gets imbalanced as a nature and is a matter of great environmental concern.
Effects on agriculture:
Also, certain agricultural crops require pollination. These crops are severely affected having detrimental effects on agriculture and horticulture and subsequently the agro-economy.
So, measures should be taken at individual level and administration level to put an end to pollinator decline to save the environment, to save ourselves.