Is the palm oil the wonder plant it is made out to be?

wonder: If there is one palm that stands head and shoulders above all others in terms of its usefulness to us, it must be Palm oil. This tree, which may rise to more than 20 meters in height, has two species: one that is native to western and northwestern Africa, and the other is in tropical Central and South America. African diversity began life in Southeast Asia – particularly in Indonesia and Malaysia, and we are now offering it large swaths of suitable tropical habitat as well. No environmental altruism involved; There is only one word: oil.

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Oil extracted from both the fruit and the oil kernel palm, palm (Its yield is much higher than other palm trees) Like manna from the sky. Not necessarily for our health, but for a variety of purposes. It has been used by us for 5,000 years, and during the Industrial Revolution, the British used it to lubricate heavy machinery. What’s more, because it contains more saturated fat than other vegetable oils, such as sunflower, canola, corn, and soybean, it makes the ideal cooking medium for deep frying and is not prone to oxidation.

Does not contain trans fats. It’s great for baking and preparing pastries Paste. Aside from its use as a cooking medium, found in nearly every kitchen, it has been cheerfully criticized by commercial food manufacturers from chips to cheese puffs. It’s as stable as any well-governed democracy should be and maintains quality, flavor, and consistency – and is very popular with commercial food manufacturers. So much so that it is estimated that every person on Earth consumed 7.7 kg of the substance in 2015 and the demand for it is rising rapidly. In 2018-2019, global production of palm oil was 73.5 million metric tons.

All of this, of course, didn’t go down our throats in one way or another — we put it to other uses, too. Look closely at the labels of shampoo, shaving cream, body lotion, or cleansers. Ingredients derived from palm oil are always among them – perhaps their name is convincing (we’ll see why…). Unilever ‘Sunlight’ soap is available, and then there’s the famous American company ‘Palmolive’ giving the game away! It is believed that 70 percent of these products contain palm oil in one form or another, and if it is a foaming product, you can be absolutely sure that it contains palm oil. It has been claimed that 50 per cent of all products used by urban indians It contains palm oil in one form or another.

The other big use of palm oil is the production of biodiesel. Ah, you might say, finally, a renewable source of fuel for our motorized vehicles and heavy machinery. Indonesia, in fact, aims to switch to 100 percent biodiesel from conventional palm oil, and would need 15 million hectares of farms to do so. The largest biodiesel plant in the world is the Finnish bio-oil plant Neste based in Singapore, with a capacity of 800,000 tons per year. half of all europe Palm oil Imports from Indonesia went to biodiesel production. In India, we import large quantities of palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia and when the Ukrainian crisis broke out, the prices rose sharply. We are now aiming to be “atmanbhar” in palm oil production!

So, in general, oil palm seems to be one of Mother Nature’s gifts to us, right? Not so fast…

Looting: There are major issues with the use and abuse of palm oil. Aside from the fact that all the doctors will tell you that fried foods and snacks like french fries are bad for your health, there are other serious problems. Palm oil biodiesel produces three times the amount of carbon emissions as conventional diesel does, and thus may contribute to an increase in greenhouse gases and Global Warming. But there is something more subtle and frightening about this wondrous tree.

When I first saw aerial photos of palm oil plantations, I felt uncomfortable in the pit of my stomach. Usually, when you see an endless green canopy below you, your heart soars. But these trees stood in endless rows like menacing stormtroopers somewhat stiff and silent, the surroundings devoid of fall and lifeless. More conquests were planned for them. And the vanquished – hundreds of thousands of hectares of species-rich rainforests in Southeast Asia (Indonesia and Malaysia) – were ruthlessly destroyed, altering entire ecosystems and upending the lives of local residents. Endangered Sumatran orangutan, tiger and Rhino Soon there will be nowhere to run or hide as the forests fall around them. The lives of the locals, especially the tribes, were turned upside down as palm oil companies razed their forests, forcing many to relocate. Some got jobs, but there has been wholesale exploitation here too, aided and abetted by governments who prefer to look the other way. There are checks and balances, but not much implementation to them.

In India, we are now casting our aspiring eyes on the biodiversity-rich rainforests of the Northeast and Andaman, sawmills at the ready and Rs 11,000 crore awaiting investment, even with environmentalists Blue Kill Scream. There are already 3 hectares underwater (each tree requires more than 360 liters of water per day) palm oil plantations and the government wants to increase this to 6.5 hectares in the next five years. The recent announcement that farms from now on will be green (or, God forbid, were they forests?) cover accounts illustrate the government’s intentions. As always, we seem intent on turning a savior into a sinner.

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