The demand for palm oil is burning Indonesia, quite literally. In order for us to have our margarine, or whatever product we use that has palm oil in it, the oil needs to be created. The world’s demand for it has created a need for palm oil plantations in Indonesia.
Brands use palm oil in their product because it is the cheapest of all vegetable oils. It’s used in a lot of the products that we buy at the grocery store — some ice cream, soap, cereal, candy bars, etc.
Another use of palm oil is in the fuel industry. What? Fuel? Palm oil can be used for biodiesel.
The fastest way to make space for these plantations is to burn down the jungles. These fires in Indonesia are producing some of the world’s worst pollution.
Clearing the rainforest to make way for plantations has also destroyed natural habitats for endangered species. Add into this mix that most of these rainforests are covering peat soils and the drainage of the peat swamp forests is contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.
The fires have gotten so bad that an oxygen house has been opened. People use oxygen and doctors screen which ones need it or who needs another type of advanced medical care. Many of those needing treatments come from small villages.
“This summer, nearly 920,000 people were treated for acute respiratory problems caused by the fires,” according to the Indonesia’s disaster agency.
Our demand for palm oil is literally killing people. When we shower with our favorite soap or use favorite chocolate-hazelnut spread, think about where it came from. And until WE as consumers say STOP, the fires will continue to burn.
Reference- CNN Business, Palmoil Investigations website, Clean Technica