Palm oil is derived from a palm tree predominantly found in West Africa.
Although it can now be found in parts of Asia, South America and North America. It is used for domestic cooking and in the production of many commercial household cleaning, beauty and toiletry products such as shampoos, bathing soaps and wood varnish.
With the numerous uses of this oil you might be wondering why it should be avoided.
Well it is now a known fact that this natural oil is responsible for the deaths of a large number of orangutans and a lot of other animals living in the forests where the palm tree is located.
It is even negatively affecting the environment as well as the indigenous people of the area where it is found.
How is this possible?
It is estimated that in other to grow the oil palm tree a large area of forest the size of about 300 soccer fields are destroyed.
This has a very negative impact on the forests natural environment and greatly affects it’s ecosystem.
Deforestation is a major issue when it comes to oil palm plantations for export and this trend is clearly not sustainable.
It is a fact that in Borneo and Sumatra animals are exterminated, displaced or severely injured in the attempt to grow the oil palm tree.
In order to prepare the forest for cultivation it has to be burnt, in the process these animals are literally roasted alive.
Those animals that make it are either captured by wide life poachers and smugglers as pets or they are killed for their hide and other body parts.
Orangutans can be found in the Indonesian islands and oil palm plantation has led to a drastic reduction in their population. They are shot dead by farmers who see them as pests.
The normal habitat for orangutans are also ideal locations for oil palm plantations. As these animals prefer to live close to rivers and fertile lowland soils.
What can be done?
- Legislation stating which oil has been used in the production of household products with palm oil clearly stated can help.
- It would be easier to boycott the use of these products by convincing consumers not to indirectly partake in the destruction of the orangutans natural habitat and in the death of their species.
- Petitions to save the orangutans habitat and their numbers by creating extensive reserves where they can roam, feed and mate freely will also help.
Another sources linked in Real Farmacy’s article: