A substance designed to kill a pest, be that plant (herbicide), insect, animal, or microorganism, these can come in many forms, natural and chemical. Here the chemical pesticides will be analysed.​ One common pesticide is neonicotinoids. Learn the role of organic pesticides in sustainable gardening.


– The EU and the UK have the strictest laws on pesticides. (ref) Meaning pesticides purchased in the UK will not be as harmful as those elsewhere in the world. 

– If it is the only solution, a pesticide can save a plant from being destroyed by pests. (ref)

– Following the label to the letter will reduce any potential damage to the environment. (ref)

– They are easy to buy and relatively cheap. (ref)

– Organic pesticides are available and this reduces their impact on the environment. (ref)

– Some species have no natural predators, and a pesticide is the only solution to getting rid of them. (ref)


– Pesticides can easily contaminate the environment near them if they are sprayed in the air or not disposed of properly. (ref)

– Ground and surface water have both been found to have traces of pesticides, coming from soil absorption and chemical runoff. (ref)

– The use of pesticides reduces general biodiversity. (ref)

– Animals may be poisoned by residue left by pesticides. (ref)

– By killing some organisms, animals higher up the food chain may be affected negatively as their food source is diminished. (ref)

– Pollinators, such as bees and butterflies can be impacted by pesticides and this can have undesirable effects. (ref) A result of pesticides not being selective and killing desired organisms. (ref)

– Some species can grow resistant to a pesticide, (ref) potentially causing issues in the future.

– Conditions have to be good to use these chemicals, it should not be too windy or wet as this will potentially spread the pesticide. (ref)

– Organic pesticides tend to be more expensive, despite the fact they do less damage. (ref)


Pesticides Summary

Pesticides can ensure that a pest is removed and that plants and gardens are protected. The EU and the UK have the strictest rules worldwide when it comes to pesticides, meaning the most damaging pesticides are not found in the UK. Despite this, however, there are concerns about chemical leaks into the environment which kill and impact organisms. There are also issues in which synthetic pesticides can attack other, unintended organisms, impacting the wildlife in and near gardens. Organic pesticides are an alternative to synthetic pesticides (more information can be found below) which have less of an impact on the environment and help to ensure local environmental sustainability. 



– There are guides that specify how to repel certain pests from the garden. These guides advocate alternatives that are not chemical in origin, they range from planting varieties of plants to using materials to repel pests. (ref), (ref)