Global pandemic caused by high demand for palm oil

Hind Ibrahim Alabdooli                                                                                        GEN 145- 510

ID: 201904088                                                                                                Word Count: 1294


Palm Oil


The high demand for palm oil has created a global pandemic, and if it were to culminate may destroy a few countries and the environment. Palm oil “originated from West Africa,” where it was considered one of the staple crops consumed by the civilians (cited in The oil palm, 2015, para 1). There were also signs of palm oil in Egyptian tombs where people with buried with the oil in their caskets, and was considered to be one of the first traded commodities. According to (The oil palm, 2015), it later expanded to reach to Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia; in 1917, Malaysia implanted the first scale plantation in Selangor. And that is how South Asian countries became significant producers of palm oil in the world. Palm oil investigations (2014) suggest that a palm fruit contains smaller plum size fruits inside that produce two types of fat; later, used in personal care products and cleaning products because of its low price. Palm oil plantations should be banned and illegitimate for the sake of all the atrocious and life-threatening outcomes seen in the environments. These outcomes are putting a termination date for these South Asian countries. Although the uses of palm oil and provide many benefits, we should discontinue the consumption of palm oil because of its disastrous impacts on the social, economic, and environmental factors.


Palm oil helped produce and sell many products from personal care to cleaning products, but it also had many pessimistic social impacts. It affected the world globally, but especially South Asian countries. Not only has it embezzled many people of their labor rights, but also it has hijacked the children’s youth and childhood. Many workers live without their life necessities like clean water, electricity, and force them to live in complete isolation for the sake of staying close to the plantation. Workers also have no legal contract to ensure their rights; their legal documents and passports were confiscated, which sometimes leads to hefty problems. The second reason is far more ominous, because worse than adult labor workers not getting their rights is child labor. This immense predicament is far more awful in South Asian countries. The dire and harsh workspaces and adverse conditions are atrocious, exposing the children to many toxic chemicals and prolonged work hours in return to almost nothing in income. According to (SPOTT, 2016) around 72,000 and 200,000 dispossessed children work in palm oil plantations. A far more dangerous impact is the hazardous dilemma of health; oil plantations release chemical waste as gas—pesticides and fertilizers exposing the citizens to   CO2 and methane. Many cases of lung diseases and other respiratory system illnesses are results of the fires that have caused haze and fog to circulate the city. SPOTT (2016) asserts that over 500,000 cases reported of respiratory diseases in 2015 and the death of 19 people in Indonesia. Palm oil plantation has caused many issues, including negative social impacts that have implemented calamitous aspects.


Palm oil should abolish because it has an enormous influence on the environment. According to SPOTT (2016), in just Malaysia and Indonesia, around 85% of palm oil was produced. These rainforest rich countries are unfortunately falling apart due to the immense damage palm oil plantations and deforestation. They have been recently cutting down trees, causing an abnormality in the levels of biodiversity. The rainforests existing in these countries provide the earth with some essential services to the ecosystem, such as purified water, nitrogen cycle, and the development of soil. In addition to deforestation and the loss of biodiversity comes the extinction and damage to some wildlife’s habitats. Cutting down trees for palm oil plantations and infrastructure means forcing some species out of their natural habitats, causing them to move to smaller areas and having insufficient food and live in farms, animals like tigers, orangutans, and elephants (SPOTT, 2016, para 4). SPOTT (2016) argues that approximately 15% of species moved to plantations can survive. Another demolishing consequence of palm oil is pollution; not only does it affect the land, but also it affects the water. The pesticides and fertilizers used in the process of growing palm oil trees pollute the soil, and that, later on, pollutes the underground water. Results of fires that start due to climate change causing around 40% of carbon gasses emitted. SPOTT (2016) writes in environmental impacts between 2001-2010 the production of palm oil in Indonesia produced up to 258 million tons of carbon emissions, which equates to 55 million cars. Palm oil has demolishing impacts of the environment, causing desertification, pollution, and extreme loss in biodiversity.


Palm oil production should be banned not only for its environmental and social impact, but also for its economic effect too. It is the primary production for some countries, “an estimated 25 million Indonesians living indirectly from palm oil production” that significantly contributes economically (SPOTT, 2016, para 1). For many countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka, primary economic function comes from the crops they plant, specifically palm oil. However, the high rate of consumption implemented these countries negatively. The first-way palm oil affected the economy is through unsupportable production; the results of climate change like fires, deforestation, and the haze caused many works to stop working.  Russel (2018) explains that most of the laborers poor and living in rural areas with inadequate health care, some workers died due to the harsh living conditions, and some diagnosed with respiratory diseases. With no workers producing palm oil, there was barely any harvest to import, causing the economy to drop intensely. Furthermore, along with the drop in the marketplace comes the second reason how palm oil affected the economy, and it is climate change. SPOTT (2016) asserts that 10 % of the world’s global warming comes from tropical deforestations and the agronomics of palm oil. Palm oil plantations cause factors such as drought, diseases, floods, and heat stress; all these factors can cause a decline in the country’s economy. These Farms usually are located in rural areas, so if they are to witness any of these factors, they might not survive; due to a lack of resources to help with such natural disasters. Although palm oil became the momentous supplier to most South Asian countries producing it, and reduced rural poverty by providing the laborers with a stable income and jobs. These plantations still affect the economy and environment negatively, and therefore should be stopped from production.


In conclusion, palm oil plantations are destroying the earth day by day. Hastily it is causing some countries to fall apart economically, socially, and affecting the environment. These plantations are emitting dangerous and poisonous gasses into the air, causing the deaths of many innocent people who are only making a living. It also has a massive impact on the economy, whereas if the production of palm oil continues might cause the extinction not only of some species, but also might destroy some countries. So, why live in a world where one small product produced by humans can ruin our future while we can still save it? Substitute the consumption of palm oil with another healthy and safer option. Since it has a bland taste and cannot be detected, we can use coconut, soy, and bean oil, considering that it is better for the environment and people producing it and healthier for the consumer. It may not be as cheap, but next time you’re in a supermarket, read the label and make sure palm oil is not one of the ingredients because the more you consume, the more they produce. So, take a minute while grocery shopping and think about the world and future, and all the harm palm oil is causing today.




































Bulter, R., & Laurance, W. (2009). Is Oil Palm the Next Emerging Threat to the Amazon?. 2(1), 1-10.


Environmental impacts, (2016, November 24). Retrieved from


Helmer, J. (2017, January 9). The Perils of Palm Oil. Retrieved from


Russell, M.  (2018, February 19). Palm Oil: Economic And Environmental Impacts. Retrieved from


Social impacts, (2016, November 24). Retrieved from


The Oil Palm. (2014, January 1). History and Origin. Retrieved from


Vijay, V., Pimm, S. L., Jenkins, C. N., & Smith, S. J. (2016). The Impacts of Oil Palm on Recent Deforestation and Biodiversity Loss. 11(7). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0159668


World Wildlife Fund (2020, January 17). Sustainable Agriculture: Impacts. Retrieved from


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