Assessment of the impact of organic Agriculture on Nitrate Content in Drinking Water in Rural Settlements of Ukraine
Without question, there is a negative impact of traditional agriculture on the environment, and in particular on the pollution of groundwater used by the rural population as sources of drinking water. This issue has continuously been studied by scientists from different countries. The introduction of the principles of organic production, which are based on the prohibition of the use of hazardous chemicals in agricultural activities, will make it possible to reduce the negative impact on the environment, not upset the natural balance and obtain environmentally friendly products. The issue of pollution of water resources with nitrates that come in with agricultural effluents has become global and is reflected in European legislation, namely in Directive No. 91/676/EEC. Studies related to the assessment of the impact of organic agriculture on nitrate content in drinking water from the sources of non-centralized water supply in rural settlements have been conducted in 15 oblasts of Ukraine. Exceedance in the content of nitrate compounds has been recorded in 10 oblasts under study; and this applied to both settlements with organic and traditional agriculture. However, the assessment of the dependence of nitrate content in well water on the amount of applied nitrogenous fertilizers in oblasts of Ukraine under study was not reliable, as the approximation coefficient is 0.33, which indicates a low level of dependence. The most critical situation has been found in rural settlements of Kherson oblast, where the exceedance of the average nitrate content was almost 14 MAC for areas with traditional agriculture and almost 7 MAC for settlements where organic agricultural production predominates. The assessment of the hazard quotient in this area indicates a critical level of occurrence and development of harmful effects on public health, especially for children; there may be mass complaints and the emergence of chronic diseases.