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Sugar & It's Environmental Impacts

Sugar not only has a significant impact on our health, but on our environment, too. More than 145 million tonnes of sugar is produced per year (Halō, 2019). The cultivation and processing of sugar comes with severe consequences to the wellbeing of our environment. Impacts include : loss of natural habitats, intensive usage of water, discharge of air pollution, and the degradation of soils (WWF, 2004).

The production of sugar is a highly water intensive operation. Sugarcane is referred to as being one of the world’s thirstiest crops. The production of sugarcane has been known to destroy freshwater ecosystems - as silt, fertilizers, and chemical sludge are washed from farms into these areas. Sugarcane farming has also resulted in deforestation in some of the world’s most threatened ecosystems. Brazil’s Atlantic Forest for example, was once a massive area but has now been reduced to just 7% of its original size (WWF, 2015). Now, natural habitats (such as rain forests, wetlands, and savannah's) have been cleared in an attempt to save what is left.

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