Cocaine users are partly responsible for the destruction of tropical rainforests. Cocaine use can not only be harmful to health, but also for the environment.
The former Vice President of Colombia Francisco Santos Calderón says cocaine 4 grams per square meter of tropical rainforest is destroyed. So until 2008 already 2.2 million hectares of rainforest have been destroyed for the construction of coca plantations.
The production of cocaine is a complicated chemical process consisting of several stages from coca leaf to clean – or sniff cocaine to go. The cultivation of the coca plant and dumping the chemicals require 300,000 acres of tropical rainforest every year.
According to Francisco Santos Calderón the end users carries as much responsibility in the demise of the rainforest. Per gram of cocaine 4 square meters of tropical rain forest are lost in the production process. Santos believes that this measurement calls for more “environmentally conscious” people who will stay off the coke. Santos: “Whoever drives a hybrid car, recycles and is concerned about climate change, must also be aware that a party night on cocaine destroys four square meters of rainforest – at least.”
The production of cocaine is checked by illegal groups such as The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC. This group is known for its terrorist actions such as to protect their fields. In addition, the FARC is responsible for several kidnappings like that of the French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt. Groups such as the FARC get their money from the profits of cocaine production.