palm oil

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by sk93ovm
Last updated 10 years ago

Discipline:
Science
Subject:
Environmental Studies

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palm oil

Palm Oil

Every year Malaysia produces 17 tons of palm oil from around 4.5 hectares of palm farms.

Green Peace has set many campaigns to lower therate of deforestation.

Palm oil trees by the Malaysia international terminal.

The palm tree. Pretty much the symbol of anything tropical or luxurious. Yet, do you ever wonder what uses this plant actually has? Palm trees are farmed for their high quality oils which are used in thousands of different products. Although this seems like an incredible resource, there are many problems that are developed from the means to produce this crop, and that is why I believe the palm oil industry has a negative effect on the environment of South East Asia.

The uses of palm oil stretch from sterilizing agents in band aids to rich Cadburys chocolate. The palm tree has been farmed for thousands of years by almost every country in Asia, today the world’s top two producers and exporters of this product are Malaysia and Indonesia with thousands of hectares of land dedicated to palm farming. Food and medicine products manufactured with palm oil contain many essential vitamins and also even large amounts of antioxidants making this one of the healthiest oils available today.

In the last year alone Malaysia and Indonesia have produced an astounding 26 million tons of palm oil! To fuel this massive scale of production, Indonesia plans to clear an additional 8.6 hectares of land for farms. Yet this is no ordinary land, these areas are peat marshes. Peat is a sort of compost that accumulates at the surface of a marsh yet think of this compost like petrified wood, it has been sitting there for decades, which causes pockets of carbon dioxide to be stored inside the compost, which means disturbing this land by clearing it will release all of that carbon into the atmosphere.

All of this land clearance and deforestation is destroying South East Asia’s beautiful rainforests and is also adding more species to the critically endangered list. This is not only affecting the rainforest though, this is damaging the biodiversity of these countries as a whole. To keep the palms watered, governments and corporations are taking steps to divert rivers into their plantation, which cause massive droughts for the rainforest which also starts forest fires.

Along this whole line of production there are many people that are also getting the ill effects of this industry. Many of the areas that have been cleared by the corporations are actually not their land to clear, so people are forced out of their rural homes to find work somewhere in the city. This also affects the drinking water of the people because as the factories extract the oil from the plants the chemical byproduct used in production is released into the rivers and waterways, polluting the water.

For such a remarkable resource it seems like we have become addicted to it. By expanding on this product’s manufacturing capacity we are in a way destroying ourselves, we are becoming addicted to industries that are killing us. From this products production we are polluting water ways making them undrinkable, releasing massive amounts of carbon into our fragile atmosphere which causes rising sea levels. From this stage these problems cannot be ignored by us, we must approach this issue as a whole with governments gathering together to solve this problem. Get involved, send a letter or avoid palm oil products, to learn more go to http://www.greenpeace.org/international/.

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