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The Ectensive Impact Of Illicit Plants And Drug Production On Coloumbian Deforestation

1736 words - 7 pages

The extensive Impact of Illicit Plant and drug production on Colombian Deforestation

Introduction
Illegal substances hurt and destroy not only the lives of the users; they devastate the environment they are grown and manufactured in as well. Since the 1970’s the illegal drug industry in Colombia encompassing everything from growing coca plants to the perceived government solutions have been destroying the lush Colombian ecosystem. Colombia is geographically superior to every other country in South America for three reasons. The first reason being that that it is the only country in the continent that shares a border with Latin America. Next reason is they have both pacific and Atlantic ...view middle of the document...

This poses a huge threat to human life as the Amazon provides much of the worlds oxygen. Also the indigenous life, in the form of wildlife and native peoples to the amazon are in great danger. As well as their habitats disappearing, the native people are forced into drug cultivation. I intend to expose one of the many downsides of getting high by looking into the environmental harm behind illicit crop/drug cultivation and production.

Analysis of effects
Deforestation spurred by illicit crop/drug production has become such a huge problem in Colombia due to the fact there is no regulation behind this illegal activity. This means the drug producers can grow and manufacture where they want and as much as they want. Then they can use whatever toxin they like and dispose of them wherever way is easiest. It takes around a half a ton of fertilizers, pesticides, sulphuric acid and other chemicals to turn an acre of coca to pure cocaine. (Blair, 2008) All bi-products are then dumped in the forest or in the Amazon River. Due to high worldly demand Colombian drug lords have been producing as quick as they can. Now because these are highly criminal activities there is much pressure on eliminating drug related behavior, often not worrying about the environmental implications. Therefore the solutions to mitigating drug crime are actually having a negative impact on the issue of deforestation. When all things are factored in you really get an understanding of the devastation that illegal plant and drug production causes. “The Colombian government says four sq. meters (4.8 sq. yards) of rain forest have to be cleared to produce a gram of cocaine — and 2.2 million hectares (5.44 million acres) of Colombian tropical forest have been cut down to grow coca in the last twenty years.” (Day, 2008) In comparison U.S funded ariel pesticide spraying accounted for destroying around 400 000 acres last year. (Blair, 2008) Biodiversity surveyors have even found guerilla groups have been sprayed even when there are no traces of illicit crops. The authorities are misusing this harmful chemical. (Alvarez, 2001) Clearly these pesticides have some fatal effects if they cause 400 000 acres of rainforest to basically wither up and die. However its not only the forest in which it kills. Local farmers have had crops dying off from this spray. (Clune/ Harper, no year) This displays just how many different effects this drug production has on Colombia. Rainforests carry around 10% of the world’s plant and animal sources. Many of which are developed into new medicines. This poses a huge risk for biodiversity but also poses a risk for the health and future of our biophysical and socioeconomic environments. (Anonymous/ Energy & Ecology, 2011) What a lot of people don’t realize is deforestation causes many other environmental issues including depletion of coral reefs. (Tropical Americas, 2008)(Map below) This is why it is so important to protect our forests. However over the last 10...

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