As you may or may not know palm oil is an integral ingredient in much foodstuff today. The problem is where this palm oil comes from, much of this palm oil comes from cleared land putting much wildlife at risk; the most notable being the orangutan.
You may not know but palm oil is not only bad for wildlife but it also bad for you. One tablespoon of palm oil contains 55 percent of recommended saturated fat intake. Thus it is a very unhealthy substance.
Now the side we hear about but don’t see. Up to 300 football field sized patches of land are cleared every hour to make room for palm oil plantations. This is an almost unthinkable amount, anyone who has ever been to a rainforest or even a forest will know that even in a square centimetre there is a tremendous amount of life, yet alone in 5364 meters squared. This has had a devastating toll on all wildlife, however, it has especially affected the orangutans, whose population has declined by 50% in the past 10 years. There are only 6,300 Sumatran orangutans left. It is estimated that 1,000 orangutans are killed a year, a major factor in these deaths being forest clearing for palm production. In 2006, at least 1,500 orangutans were clubbed to death by palm workers. (Source).
This also has a devastating toll on the environment for every hectare cleared up to 6000 tonnes of carbon dioxide is released. In Indonesia, a current 6 million hectares have been cleared a further 4 million is proposed. This is an inconceivable amount of carbon dioxide polluting the earth’s atmosphere. As well as this in Indonesia, the palm oil industry is responsible for about 5,000 land and human rights conflicts. Nearly 45 million people live in the forests of Indonesia. In 2011, Wilmar (one of the world’s largest palm oil producers) bulldozers ransacked an entire village, destroying 40 homes to clear 40,000 hectares of land for a palm plantation (Source).
The video below is a fairly graphic representation of the problem at hand.