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Toilet Paper Takes a terrible toll through Deforestation
Recent reports find toilet paper guilty of containing 'forever chemicals'. Apart from this, it plays a big role in fueling climate change
Logging site in Boreal forest, Credit, Inhabitat
While toilet paper from across the globe checked for “forever chemicals” contains the compounds, the product across the globe also affects climate change. Each year, the logging industry in Canada degrades over a million acres of the boreal forest, in part to cater for U.S. needs for toilet paper, as users consume three rolls of toilet paper a week, accounting for a fifth of the world’s tissue consumption, according to the report by environmental groups New Stand. Earth and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
A Briton uses about 127 rolls per year, which is more than twice the European average, and is the third highest in the world, equal to about 8.5 billion rolls per annum in the UK, and even though experts estimate that about a third of fibers used in UK tissue manufacture gets recycled, this would only save more than three million trees, meaning an estimated seven million trees get felled every year for toilet tissue.
A Chinese uses about 49 toilet rolls per year, enough toilet paper to fell 47 million trees, a figure allowing China to use over four billion miles of toilet paper, further than the distance between earth and Neptune, just falling short of the distance to dwarf planet, Pluto (4.67bn miles).
Toilet paper leads to the extermination of lots of trees, and though it gets recycled in countries such as Britain, millions of plants still get affected, far more than trees saved, which accounts for the millions of acres of the boreal forest destroyed in Canada, making the product not just a threat due to 'forever chemicals', but also a threat through climate change.
Global tropical forest loss contributed about 4.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year (or about 8-10 percent of annual human emissions of carbon dioxide) between 2015 and 2017, with the rate at which carbon escaped from the deforestation of tropical forests more than doubling in the first two decades of the 21st century, according to a research by Nature.
North American and Russian boreal forests contributed almost half a billion tons of carbon in 2021, a record high and more than double the amount for 2020, with each year clear cutting across the boreal forest releasing more than 26 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, more than the annual emissions of some entire countries.
Amazon forest loss during the second year of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro's government in Brazil contributed to the rise of Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions by 9.5% in 2020, hitting 2.16 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) in 2020, up from 1.97 billion in 2019, generating large carbon emissions even during the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Through the increased deforestation in the Amazon, the destruction to the North American and Russian boreal forest, and the global tropical forest loss, billions of tons of carbon dioxide get released into the atmosphere, heating up the planet, adding to the calamities associated with climate change.
Over 10 million acres of forests and woodlands get lost every year due to deforestation, causing a massive loss of income to poor people living in remote areas who depend on the forest to survive, with hundreds of community leaders killed because of disputes over land in recent years, and though indigenous people speak about 6,700 of the world’s languages, some estimates indicate that extinction faces more than 40 percent of them by 2100.
More than 28 million acres of Canadian boreal forest - about the size of the state of Pennsylvania - suffer from barrenness, allowing species such as the boreal caribou, an animal that can thrive only in parcels of undeveloped land, to dwindle in the face of logging and other forms of development, with only 14 considered to have self-sustaining populations out of 51 herds.
Some 17 percent of Berau in Indonesia lost tree cover and the resulting heat increase made outdoor work conditions unsafe an additional 20 minutes of the day, causing an estimated 104 deaths, according to a study that used satellite image information to determine how much tree cover was lost in Berau between 2002 and 2018—years during which overall weather conditions were otherwise relatively stable.
Some toilet paper production contribute to the loss of tree cover in Indonesia, while the dangerous status of the boreal caribou and valuable animals in Canada could be attributed to the clearing of trees used for toilet roll production, with estimates saying globally the product leads to 10 percent deforestation of forests and woodlands, even though it’s used by only 30 percent of the world population.
Ultimately, big corporations should take actions against destroying the planet for profit, as existing forests should be preserved, if we are to avoid losing this relatively intact biodiversity haven and significant global carbon sink. Bamboo provides a viable solution, because it’s 100% biodegradable, 100% sustainable, and 100% renewable alternative that’s available now, since virgin tree pulp are not necessary to create toilet paper.
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Indonesian vegan food, Credit, Asian Recipes