Environmental Impact of Abaca
The past decade has seen the most drastic change in the state of the environment. More single-use plastic, non-biodegradable, and waste has polluted the planet. We’ve reached a point where progress is hindering progress itself. This calls for all of us to turn to sustainable consumption.
Rapid industrialization and modernization require high consumption of energy. A large portion of energy still comes from burning fossil fuels that release carbon into the atmosphere. This results in a warmer atmosphere as the thick layer of greenhouse gases prevent heat from escaping. Many countries are putting effort into finding renewable sources of energy like wind, hydroelectric, and solar energy. While the world is slowly transitioning to renewable and cleaner sources of energy, we can do our part by simply consuming less energy. This is where abaca comes in. Major industries that use glass fibers are changing to natural fibers like abaca that easily decompose when discarded. Processing abaca is 60% more energy efficient than processing glass fiber. With abaca and other natural fibers, companies consume less energy while accomplishing more.
Planting abaca also improves soil quality. It has special properties that improve the soil’s water holding property. This helps prevent soil erosion and reduce flooding. Interplanting abaca with other trees also helps with sedimentation problems and improve marine life in nearby waters like rivers and streams. This will greatly help in improving biodiversity in aquatic habitats. The fishes can breed and multiply.
Products made of abaca or with abaca fibers as one of the main raw materials are preferred by waste-conscious companies because they can be recycled multiples times before being fully discarded. This includes paper and cordage. It is a more sustainable option than using wood pulp and fiber. Trees take longer to mature and be harvested for usable fiber. Once fully mature, a single abaca plant can be harvested three times a year. Trees and forests are the lungs of the earth. Turning from lumber to abaca for paper production can aid the battle against deforestation and climate crisis.
Abaca will bring positive impacts to the Philippines not only in trade and the economy but in sustaining the environment. That is why aside from trade and economy sectors of the country, the science sector must also take part in bringing up the abaca industry in the Philippines. We have already lost our hold on other industries like rice and tuna. Other countries are catching up in the abaca market and it is important that the Philippines uplifts abaca even more.
- Abaca Natural Fiber. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.abc-oriental-rug.com/abaca-natural-fiber.html
- Biccay, J. M. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved from http://www.philfida.da.gov.ph/index.php/archived-articles/19-philippine-abaca-helps-in-global-environment-conservation