En Portada analyzes the effects of palm oil plantations in Indonesia.
The effects on the environment and the local’s way of life is put at risk in the biggest crops of palm oil trees in the world.
In Indonesia, especially in the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, during the last decades have proliferated the number of fires, mostly arsons, for the subsequent crop of palm trees that produces vegetable oil, the most used one around the world. In 2015 the flames cleared 1,7 million hectares of forest, a surface equivalent to the province of Zaragoza in Spain. Half of the fires happened in peat bogs, that when burning gives off 10 times more CO2 emissions than regular fires. The toxic fog affected several countries in South Asia and caused several direct deaths and around 100,000 premature deaths.
The island of Borneo accommodates almost half of the palm oil trees in the world, and it has the higher lever of deforestation in the planet. The fast disappearance of forest and peat bogs in putting at critical risk of extinction of endangered species, like the orangutan. It is also affecting the local’s way of life, including several ethnic groups, forced to move by expropriations. Some human rights organizations have also denounced the abusive working conditions of the employees hired by the companies exploiting the palm oil plantations.