In olden days, the area or land used for agriculture was high and the population it feed was less. Our forefathers used only the 'muck' as fertilizers and have enjoyed a healthy life by consuming a healthy food of quality and quantity. Muck is nothing but the moist farmyard dung or soil containing decaying plants, vegetables etc. or manure. Those days there were no fertilizers, pesticides, growth inducers or promoters to avoid pests or to increase the crop yield. Though, we have to accept the truth that our previous generations were healthy than what we are now, after modern science and technologies with introduction of new chemicals to kill insect pests and promoters for fast crop growths. The present system of agriculture has achieved an increased yield compared to older farming practices. But, the chemicals that we use for the crops not only affect the health of consumers (we) but also destroys the nature of the soil forever. Sometimes, over use of pesticides poison the land and nothing else will grow thereafter. So, what we can do to avoid this chemical accumulation in soil ? 1. Analyse your soil nutrients that is of less cost, so you will come to know which nutrient is deficient in your soil. 2. Do not go for repeated cultivation of same crops. For example., If you cultivate paddy in your field, once you harvest, sow some cereals and other pulses that are nitrogen-fixing crops. Crop rotation is the replenishment of nitrogen through the use of green manure and will improve your soil structure and fertility of the soil. 3. Go for organic methods of soil enrichment such as muck-spreading. They are actually cheap than any other growth promoters available in the form of chemicals in market. It even have the power to rejuvenate the soils destroyed by chemical intensive agricultural practices. 4. A recent and widely used method in organic farming is the soil re-mineralisation using finely crushed rocks (rock dust) that contain minerals and trace elements. The rock dusts are rich in silicon, potassium, sulfur, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, calcium, copper, cobalt and other necessary elements for soil enrichment and crop growth. Appropriate use of these methods will certainly give fruitful results in quality crop production as well save our earth from chemical pollutants. 

Contributed by: Dr. J. Benjamin Franklin, Scientist, NIOT, Port Blair.