Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers and genetically engineered seeds.
Organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture and promote balance of ecosystems.
- Wildlife contraband is among the world's largest illegal trades, with an annual turnover of some $20 billion. The lax implementation of wildlife laws in India encourages insurrectionists, separatists and extremists to access vast fortunes from unprotected forests. All this undermines national security.
- Biodiversity and climate change are two sides of one coin. Wild species maintain natural ecosystems, which sequester and store carbon.
- Economists have no real tools to measure the ecosystem services (flood and drought control, moderating weather, food) provided by our natural capital (forests, grasslands, wetlands mangroves, corals, rivers, lakes). They therefore undervalue such life-support assets.
- Climate change is eating into India's GDP, eroding water, food, energy and social security, and lowering the quality of life.
- Melting glaciers, the salinization of coastal aquifers, the unreliability of the monsoon and the falling fertility of Indian soils, a direct result of climate change, will cause massive forced migration and social unrest. The restoration of natural ecosystems can help mitigate some of these impacts while providing employment to millions of Indians.
Benefits of organic cotton:
- No compromise with farmer’s health. Organic farmers need not suffer exposure from pesticides which affect their health. Farm workers working in conventionally grown cotton fields around the world suffer from an abundance of toxic exposures and related health problems. Pesticides used on cotton cause acute poisonings and chronic illness to farm workers worldwide. Acute respiratory symptoms and other health effects in communities surrounding cotton farms are correlated with high use of chemicals.
- Better Livelihoods. Organic farmers get higher realization and better livelihoods.
- Lower carbon footprint because of manual farming and organic practices. Entire process consumes less fuel and energy and emits fewer greenhouse gases.
- Not from genetically modified cottonseed.
- No chemical. Grown with natural rather than synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
- Eco-friendly processing that does not compromise workers' health and helps reduce water and electric use and toxic runoff, e.g. non-chlorine bleach, silicon-free softeners and low impact, azo-free dyes.
- Allergy reduced. People with allergies and chemical sensitivity especially benefit from organic cotton clothing, as conventional cotton may retain harmful toxic residues. Even if you don't have sensitive skin, organic cotton will just feel better against your skin.
Strict testing ensures the absence of contaminants like nickel, lead, formaldehyde, amines, pesticides and heavy metals.
- Protect surface and groundwater quality
- Reduces risk in insect and disease control by replacing insecticide with the manipulation of ecosystems
- Conservation of biodiversity
- Eliminate the use of toxic chemicals used in cotton
- Improves soil structure by increasing soil activity, thus reducing the risk of erosion
- Promotes the development of earthworms and above ground arthropods, thus improving the growth conditions of the crop. Furthermore, organic crops profit from root symbioses and are better able to exploit the soil, and organic fields accommodate a greater variety of plants, animals and micro organisms.
Cotton is the world's most important non-food agricultural commodity, yet this industry is responsible for the release of US$ 2 billion worth of chemical pesticides each year, of which at least US$ 819 million worth are considered toxic enough to be classified as hazardous by the WHO. Cotton accounts for 16% of global insecticide releases: almost 1 kg of pesticide is applied for every hectare under cotton.
Between 1% and 3% of agricultural workers worldwide suffer from actue pesticide poisoning. A single drop of the pesticide aldicarb, absorbed through the skin, can kill an adult. Aldicarb is commonly used in cotton production.
Toxic agrochemicals first applied to cotton 50 years ago now pollute the country's land, air, food and drinking water.
Hazardous cotton pesticides are now known to contaminate rivers.
Organic cotton offers a strong alternative to conventional cotton.