Indonesia Plants Oil Palm On Peatland, Europe Burns Down Peatland

Europe every second degrades the ecology of mined and burns peat for energy, pollutes the environment and destroys peat, while in Indonesia the peat is planted oil palm plantations that restore ecology, reduce carbon emissions, produce oxygen and restore the economy

The utilization of peatlands for oil palm plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia, is one of the European Parliament’s spotlight which led to a boycott plan on palm oil products. Europe alleges that the use of peat for oil palm plantations is one of the major contributors to carbon emissions. Therefore, peatlands should be protected or converted into protected forests.

According to Wetland International (2009) data, from 380 million hectares of world peatlands, about 44 percent (167 million hectares) are in Europe and Russia, while Indonesia has only 7 percent of the world peatlands. Guess what peat in Europe is used for. Are peatlands in Europe left unused and used as protected peatland forests?

Based on Research Report VTT 5 (26), it is revealed that peatlands in Europe as in Finland, Ireland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania are used as fuel. Peat, also known as ‘young’ coal, in Europe is mined and burned to produce energy. There are at least 650 companies that use peat as energy and 117 power plants that use peat as fuel to provide energy for at least 2 million people in those countries.

Coal, let alone peat, is the dirtiest fuel in the world and more dirty than petroleum. In addition to producing concentrated air pollution, it also produces carbon emissions into the air that cause global warming. The use of peat in Europe also contributes to the increasing carbon emissions and air pollution, peat that is mined and then burned must have damaged the peat itself. Every year, millions of cubic peat mined and burned Europe.

Unlike in Europe, peatlands in Indonesia are planted with crops including for oil palm plantations. Various studies have proven that oil palm plantations on peat land reduce carbon emissions. Other than that, just like most plants, oil palm cleans the air because it absorbs carbon and produces oxygen for life. Therefore, the utilization of peatlands for oil palm plantations is actually improving the environment.

Very contradictory, Europe has been boldly prohibiting the use of peat for oil palm plantations, while in Europe itself the peat was even burned, pollutes the environment, and damage the peatland itself. It is clear that Europe is very inconsistent and doesn’t walk the talk. We are prohibited to plant crops on peatlands, while Europe, they freely burn peatlands. Peat fires due to the dry season (El Nino) in 2015 in Indonesia are criticized by Europe, while Europe burns peat every second and it has lasted for years.

Let’s not get fooled by Europe anymore. NGOs in Indonesia who have been the representative for European are against the use of peat, please don’t get fooled by Europe. Planting oil palm on peatlands, is far more environmentally friendly than burning the peat, like what Europe does.

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