The archetypal image of pollution is usually a factory giving off dark smoke or a city full of cars in traffic. But in our daily lives there are products that are little or not at all respectful with the environment that we should start to discard. Above all, when we do the home shopping. Because we must take into account both the direct and indirect effects, related to the extraction of the product, its production, its use or in what way and where they become waste. In this Green Ecologist article, we show which are the most polluting products.
A report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has been presented, Assessing the environmental impacts of consumption and production, which shows that to reduce the impacts on the planet, two sectors must be changed as a priority: that of energy and that of food.
The fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal) produce great environmental impact on their own (they negatively affect climate change, they have great toxicity), but they also increase the environmental load of other materials that require a lot of energy, such as metallic minerals.
Regarding the food products, its production constitutes an inefficient process that occupies soil, negatively affects ecosystems and biodiversity and, in many cases, uses a large amount of water. The meat industry It is especially polluting, both due to the emissions of harmful gases, and the increasing use of land and resources to feed animals. It is expected that in 2050 between 40 and 50% of the cereal crops in the world will be produced for animal feed. This circumstance leads the United Nations to recommend a diet with less meat.
In the European Union, a similar study has been carried out in which 283 groups of consumer products were analyzed in eight impact categories (abiotic degradation, acidification, ecotoxicity, climate change, eutrophication, toxicity, reduction of the ozone layer and photochemical oxidation. ). The study Environmental Impact of Products It was carried out by the Institute for Prospective Technology (IPTS), of the Joint Research Center of the European Commission. The conclusion is that food and drinks are responsible for between 20 and 30% of the impacts in the different categories, the construction and use of houses, between 20 and 35%, and motorized transport, between 15 and 35%. In other words, these three sectors are responsible for between 70 and 80% of all environmental damage caused by consumption.
In more detail, the study considers that the products with a greater contribution to climate change are motor vehicles (15%), meat (5.5%), heating equipment (4.7%), poultry free-range (3.9%), new residences (3.2%), sausages and other prepared meat products (2.5%), milk (2.4%) and cheese (2.1% ).
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