How Does Growing and Consuming Coffee Affect the Environment?

Alex Nikitin

The chemical aspect of coffee plantations and the environment pertains to the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. These infiltrate the ground water and the air creating pollution and possible health hazards. Plantations that are organic do not use these chemicals and aid in keeping the water and air quality clean. In addition, plantations that are organic are able to demand a higher price for their coffee beans. Water consumption is another aspect of coffee growing that must be taken into account when looking at the environmental affects of coffee plantations. Countries that are already suffering from water shortages and yet continue to farm coffee beans are placing a burden on the water system. It takes 140 liters of water to produce a cup of coffee that is an enormous amount of water to drain from countries that are already in a water crisis. There are water sustaining methods that can be used to help offset this problem, such as collecting rain water and using it for irrigation. Ultimately, consuming and growing coffee beans has an effect on the environment, how much of an impact depends greatly on whether or not the coffee plantation has sustainable growing practices in place to help prevent as many detrimental factors from occurring as possible. Consumers have to understand that every cup of coffee they drink has some effect on their environment, how much depends on the plantation that grew the beans. 

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