It is relatively rare for the environmental effects of drugs to be addressed in the same way as their physical and societal effects.
While it is true that drugs particularly impact people’s physical, mental, and social health, looking at the bigger picture, drugs also significantly affect the environment.
The production of legal and illegal drugs deeply affects the planet. But unlike the manufacturing of legal medication, illicit drug production does not follow any environmental laws.
First, producers of illegal drugs exhaust all resources without being accountable. They do not contribute to the restoration plan of these resources. They pollute the ecosystem and cause damage beyond repair.
It is essential to address not just the physical and societal effects of drugs. But also the environmental impact it poses for the future. Here are some of the harmful effects of illegal drug production on the environment.
- Carbon Emissions
Carbon emission is the by-product of burning fossil fuels. It is very harmful to the environment because too much carbon dioxide in the air can cause air pollution, toxic acid rain, melting of glaciers, etc. Basically, it causes prominent climate changes.
Growing an ounce of cannabis indoors alone requires 7 to 16 gallons of gas. Imagine the pollution it can cause to produce a larger scale of illegal drugs.
- Extreme Water Shortage
Water shortage is one of the environmental impacts of producing drugs. A single plant of cannabis needs 8-10 gallons per plant every day. There are states with water scarcity that can be affected by the extreme water requirement from cultivating cannabis alone. Over time, it can lead to severe water shortages in the country.
Deforestation is one of the primary causes of climate change. Illegal drug production requires excessive forest clearing for the cultivation and production of illicit drugs. Deforestation also causes carbon emissions from the trees’ carbon dioxide reserves.
- Toxic Waste Pollution
Illegal laboratories producing illicit drugs produce a lot of toxic waste. Because they are running illegally, their waste management is not regulated by the law. These toxic wastes are often dumped in sewers or even on the streets.
- Diminishing Biodiversity
The abovementioned environmental effects of drug production cause different pollution. This pollution affects the air, water, land, etc., which broadly impacts all the biodiversities in the country.
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