by Michael Graham Richard, Ottawa, Canada
That's a Lot of Chopsticks
Apparently China's Ministry of Commerce has had it with disposable chopsticks. It sent out a warning to chopstick makers in June to warn them that: "Production, circulation and recycling of disposable chopsticks should be more strictly supervised." The reason? With about 45 billion disposable chopstick pairs made every year in the country, or about 130 million a day, a lot of wood is being wasted, and that in a country that is trying to increase its forest coverage (from about 8% in 1949 to 12-13% today, compared to 30% for the USA).
Greenpeace China has estimated that to keep up with this demand, 100 acres of trees need to be felled every 24 hours. Think here of a forest larger than Tiananmen Square -- or 100 American football fields -- being sacrificed every day. That works out to roughly 16 million to 25 million felled trees a year. Deforestation is one of China's gravest environmental problems, leading to soil erosion, famine, flooding, carbon dioxide release, desertification and species extinction. ( source)
If you compare 100 acres per day to the size of China's forests, it still isn't that much (it's a big country), but chopsticks are far from the only thing pressuring Chinese ecosystems. It's one more thing the country's forests could do without... read more story at TreeHugger.com