The damaging effects of palm oil cultivation on the environment:

The objective of the National Mission on Edible Oil - Oil Palm is to raise the domestic production of palm oil to 11.20 lakh tonnes by 2025-26 and to 28 lakh tonnes by 2029-30. 

So, how is this going to affect the environment? 

The government’s oil palm mission was launched despite the objections raised by India’s top forestry research institute against introducing oil palm in biodiversity-rich areas. 

This is a major threat to the environment. Also, the reason why palm oil is bad is that each grown-up palm tree above 3 years old requires a minimum of 150 to 200 liters of water per day. And in older plants especially during the summer, the quantity of water requirement can increase up to 300 liters. 

The palm oil trees have been changing the freshwater ecosystem for decades and have been lowering the water table. This alteration in the freshwater ecosystem can add salinity to the freshwater near the coastal areas, and lead to increased concentrations of arsenic in drinking water. 

Why is palm oil bad for the environment?

Palm oil cultivation has been emphasized on a larger scale by the government of India because the import value was 8.4 million metric tonnes (MMT) of palm oil in 2020-21, constituting around 18 % of global imports. 

Palm oil is one of the cheapest oils available due to high productivity per hectare and it accounts for 70% of the total vegetable oil import. Since India is highly dependent on the importation of palm oil and as the demand for vegetable oil in India is increasing, the government has planned to expand the cultivation of palm oil to 3,28,000 hectares from around 40,000 hectares. 

This cannot be achieved by relying just on rainfall, irrigation is highly essential to support the crops and, notably, the oil palm has a long gestation period of 4-5 years. 

According to the World Wildlife Organization, palm oil production also can lead to an increase in the number of endangered species and impact national parks on a larger level. Each palm oil mill generates around 2.5 metric tons of liquid waste for each metric ton of palm oil produced. The release of this liquid waste into the freshwater can lead to water pollution affecting both humans and animals. 

It is also notable that to lay the foundations for palm oil cultivation, forest fires are used to clear the vegetation. And this eventually increases the deforestation rate and paves the way for climate change. 

Indonesia being the world's largest exporter of palm oil is also the third-largest global emitter of greenhouse gasses. 

India is currently competing to become one of the largest global emitters of greenhouse gases by increasing the cultivation of palm oil. 

What can we do to protect the environment?

The choice is ours - either we continue turning a blind eye to the devastating impacts of palm oil production or take meaningful steps to protect our planet.

Here are 2 powerful ways you can help curb the rapid global expansion of palm oil cultivation:

  1. Become an informed, conscientious consumer. Read labels, research brands, and stop buying products containing palm oil derived from deforested regions. 
  2. Spread the word to everyone you know. Have candid conversations about this crisis. Share articles on social media. Convince others to adjust spending habits. 

Small actions can lead to big change. The future of countless endangered species, precious rainforests, and our children depends on it. 

Sweet Karam Coffee is dedicated to providing wholesome and ethical products, free from environmentally destructive palm oil. Savor our wide range of delicious snacks, and sweets to indulge your cravings sustainably. 

With zero palm oil and thoughtfully sourced ingredients, you can feel good about the products you choose from Sweet Karam Coffee.

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