Because sugar is a crop of the Earth, it can be suspected that it has an effect on the environment. In order for sugar to be planted, forests have to basically be cleared out. In processing sugar from its original sugar cane, wood or fossil fuel is used and the waste comings from these processes affect the environment. There are also several external costs included in the sugar producing process.
Sugar posses mainly three negative consequences on the environment:
- Air pollution: Sugar plantations contribute to Carbon Dioxide Emissions. This is due to the fact that sugar has a lot of transportation involved in order to produce refined sugar.
- Land degradation: Sugar plants dry out the land when they are being constantly replanted on the earth. Additionally, the amount of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides that are used deplete the land and leave it damaged for a long time. Sometimes the use of chemicals can deplete the land in an irreversible manner.
- Ecosystems depletion: Ecosystems are being depleted because sugar plantations require vasts amount of land. Owners are planting sugarcane and beet sugar while depleting forests and rainforests around the world. This posses a problem regarding biodiversity. Since the habitat for millions of species is depleted, fauna and flora suffer. Some countries started taking action regarding this issue and regulate the zones where sugar can be produced and planted. Brazil is an example for it. The video below illustrates their regulations:
“CANE, SUGAR AND THE ENVIRONMENT.” FAO: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, for a World without Hunger. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. <http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/005/X4988E/x4988e01.htm>.