Palm oil, respectively palm fat, is on everyone’s lips at the moment. It is omnipresent, you can find it in one in two supermarket products. It is the most produced plant oil in the world and taken together, palm oil plantations would cover an area as big as New Zealand. But what is it all about? Why is it so harmful to our environment? And how can one avoid palm oil if it is contained in numerous groceries, cosmetic products and even in petrol? We will reveal everything you need to know about it:
Disadvantages of palm oil cultivation
In order to cover the in recent years highly risen demand for palm oil, sufficient area for plantations must be created, which results in the clear-felling of rainforests in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Thereby, precious ecosystems and the habitats of endangered species like the orangutan, the Borneo pygmy elephant and the Sumatran tiger perish. But also peasants and the indigenous peoples are often expelled cruelly, deprived of their land and thereby also of their basis of existence. Aside from that, due to the clearing, masses of climate-damaging carbon dioxide find their way into the atmosphere and cause extreme weather conditions and floodings. Moreover, the slash-and-burn land clearance intensifies the already very high fire risk and the drought of the soil, so that the traditional rice cultivation is hardly possible anymore in these areas. And as if this was not enough, the labourers on the plantations have to work mostly under disastrous conditions and are exposed to highly harmful pesticides which additionally pollute the groundwater. However, the manufacturing of palm oil does not only strain our environment and affects the locals, but due to its high amount of saturated fatty acids, refined palm oil can even cause cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases among us consumers.
Hence, there are more than enough reasons to avoid palm oils as far as possible in the future. Due to its frequent occurrence, however, this is not so easy. Therefore, we will provide you with a few helpful tips how to elude palm oil in our next blog article.