The unsafe and indiscriminate use of pesticides in agriculture represents a major hazard to the environment and human health. The aim of this study was to assess the levels of knowledge, attitude and practices of Kuwaiti farmers regarding the safe use of pesticides. A total of 250 farmers participated in this study through in-depth interviews and observations on-farm. The majority of the farmers acknowledged that pesticides were harmful to their health (71%) and the environment (65%). However, farmers’ level of knowledge of pesticide safety is insufficient. Over 70% of the farmers did not read or follow pesticide label instructions, and 58% did not use any personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling pesticides. Educated farmers were significantly more likely to use PPE compared with famers with limited formal education (χ2
= 9.89, p
< 0.05). Storage of pesticides within living areas was reported by 20% of farmers. When disposing of pesticide wastes, respondents adopted unsafe practices such as discarding, incinerating, or burying empty pesticide containers on-farm, or reusing the containers. Farmers also reported disposing leftover pesticide solution or old pesticide stocks on-farm or in the sewer. A significant number (82%) of the farmers reported at least one symptom of acute pesticide poisoning. Although farmers’ knowledge of pesticide hazards was high, the reported safety measures were poor. Comprehensive intervention measures to reduce the health and environmental risks of pesticides are needed, including pesticide safety training programs for farmers, stringent enforcement of pesticide laws, and promoting integrated pest management and non-synthetic methods of pest control.
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