Which among non-biodegradable pollutants, antibiotic biodegradable pollutants or not a pollutant is DDT?

The article will explain the status of DDT among the given options (non-biodegradable pollutant, antibiotic biodegradable pollutant and not a pollutant) and will shed light on associated concepts such as 

  • Effects of DDT on life
  • Effects of DDT on the environment 
  • Why is DDT called a pollutant?
  • Why is DDT called non-biodegradable?
  • Is DDT sustainable?

Which among non-biodegradable pollutants. antibiotic biodegradable pollutants or not a pollutant is DDT?

DDT is a non-biodegradable pollutant. It is a chemical pesticide which began in the 1940s and sprang till the 1970s. However, in the decade it was revealed that there are several negative effects of DDT such as bioaccumulation leading to the complete ban of DDT in the 1970s. 

Since DDT is non-biodegradable, it can be said that DDT among non-biodegradable pollutants, antibiotic biodegradable pollutants, and not a pollutant is a non-biodegradable pollutant. 

Why is DDT a non-biodegradable pollutant?

There are certain conditions that are deemed necessary for biodegradation to exist. These include

  • The material must be sourced from nature
  • The material must be organic 
  • The material must degrade under natural conditions
  • The material must degrade in about 180 days

These are some of the conditions that render any material as harmful or harmless to nature and the environment.

Now, if we explore the case of DDT, it is seen that it is a chemical that is neither natural nor organic. 

Therefore, it does not contain the necessary inside that is essential to act as food for microbes and therefore, in light of these points, it is concluded that DDT is non-biodegradable. 

If the reason were to be given in a one-liner answer, it can be said that DDT does not checklist the points mentioned above and therefore, results in being non-biodegradable.

Why is DDT regarded as a pollutant?

DDT is discovered to be harmful to the environment. This is largely because DDT is figured to be a non-biodegradable pollutant which may persist for many years. 

DDT is also linked to the issues of bioaccumulation and medical complications. However, the effects of DDT are not just limited to health; but are also reciprocated to the environment.

DDT, other than being non-biodegradable, is found to affect aquatic and land ecosystems. The degradation rate of DDT in the aquatic environment is perceived to be even greater as compared to that of land, and thus posed a long-term threat to aquatic wildlife. 

DDT may be toxic for animals like stoneflies and crayfish while also infiltrating food chains and food webs at various levels. 

DDT is a pesticide that will not only affect target organisms but may also affect non-target organisms. This can raise serious issues and concerns. 

Also, there are studies that indicate that DDT may leach into the soil as well leading to the causation of anomalies such as groundwater pollution and soil pollution. 

Therefore, in light of these advocacies, it is asserted that DDT is given the status of being a pollutant. A pollutant which is non-biodegradable in nature. 

What can replace DDT?

Since the status of DDT has been established as a non-biodegradable pollutant, it is important to know what can replace DDT because a good replacement is not only recommended but also necessary. 

It has been established that there are negative and detrimental impacts of DDT on life and the environment, coupled with the fact that DDT has been banned also by the Stockholm Convention, it is rather imperative to go through and rummage around the greener alternatives of DDT that deliver the same utility minus the environmental costs. 

When it comes to that, there are many options that can be explored and pursued. The alternatives are plant-based pesticides that will not have any negative and degradative side effects. 

Furthermore, there are options such as neem-based and bacteria-based biopesticides. These pesticides will not only degrade but will also not offer any negative side effects as has been in the case of DDT. 

Is DDT sustainable?

No, DDT can not be given the status of being sustainable because of the following reasons 

  • DDT will remain in the system for many years and not just remain, but also cause a nuisance in the form of pollution and disruption of natural ecosystems. 
  • Not only is DDT bad in terms of persistence but there are also various negative and detrimental impacts that are rendered on life such as animal life, plant life and also human life. 
  • DDT is linked to loss of life, thinning of eggshells, and even breeding failure. Thus, DDT is directly linked to harmful impacts on life and infiltrations into the food chains. 
  • DDT may be toxic for animals like stoneflies and crayfish while also infiltrating food chains and food webs at various levels.
  • DDT is non-biodegradable in nature
  • DDT contributes to environmental problems such as pollution and toxicities. 
  • DDT is toxic for marine and aquatic ecosystems and may bioaccumulate in fish for many years 


It is concluded that DDT is a non-biodegradable pollutant because it does not contain the necessary inside that is essential to act as food for microbes therefore, in light of these points, it is concluded that DDT is non-biodegradable. 

The detrimental effects of DDT were also elaborated including effects on life and effects on the environment. Also, green alternatives to DDT were also explained in the last sections of the article. 


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  • Turusov, V., Rakitsky, V., & Tomatis, L. (2002). Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT): ubiquity, persistence, and risks. Environmental health perspectives, 110(2), 125-128.
  • Van den Berg, H. (2009). Global status of DDT and its alternatives for use in vector control to prevent disease. Environmental health perspectives, 117(11), 1656-1663.
  • Beard, J., & Australian Rural Health Research Collaboration. (2006). DDT and human health. Science of the total environment, 355(1-3), 78-89.
  • Cohn, B. A., Wolff, M. S., Cirillo, P. M., & Sholtz, R. I. (2007). DDT and breast cancer in young women: new data on the significance of age at exposure. Environmental health perspectives, 115(10), 1406-1414.
  • UNEP. Alternatives to DDT. Retrieved from: https://www.unep.org/explore-topics/chemicals-waste/what-we-do/persistent-organic-pollutants/alternatives-ddt

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