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What we consume daily harms our planet in a way we can’t even imagine. Let’s take a look at what happens when food destroys nature.
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Voiceover by Carl Mason: [email protected]
Number 8 Tapioca
While at sea, the timber from the freighter’s upper holds caught fire. For many days the crew tried to put out the blaze but Cassarate was ultimately forced to make a stop in the Welsh Bay. At the time, it was carrying 1,500 tons of Thai Tapioca. The combination of water and the heat from the fire, cooked the Tapioca into what was probably the world’s largest pudding. The entire ship basically turned into a giant steam oven. Fortunately, the situation was contained before the sticky mess could destroy the ship. The only thing left to do was to dispose of the giant mass of pudding, which was reportedly enough to fill 500 trucks.
Number 7 Norwegian Tunnel
In January 2013, Norwegians had to close a tunnel and two miles of road. It originated from a truck carrying a food item.
Number 6 London
To some, a raging river of this liquid might sound like the ideal scenario. However, for the people of one London neighborhood, it was nothing of the sort. The London Flood took place on October 17, 1814. A giant vat, containing over 135,000 gallons, ruptured at the Meux and Company Brewery, in Tottenham Court Road. It triggered a domino effect in the brewery and other vats ruptured as well. A wave, consisting of over 323,000 gallons, rushed through the streets.
Number 5 Boston Molasses
If you’re unfamiliar with molasses, all you really need to know is that it’s a type of syrup derived from refining sugar beets or sugarcane. Also known as black treacle, it’s primarily used for flavouring and sweetening foods. On January 15, 1919, in Boston’s North End neighborhood, a large storage tank burst and a devastating wave of molasses swept through the streets. The incident was a combination of structural defects in the tank and unseasonably warm temperatures, which caused pressure to build up inside. 2.3 million gallons of molasses rushed through the neighborhood at an estimated speed of 35 miles per hour. Boston residents claim that even decades later, on warm summer days, the area still smelled of molasses.
Number 4 Methane from Cows
Methane is a chemical component and the main constituent of natural gas. It’s heat trapping capabilities are roughly 20 times greater, hence it becomes a major contributor to global warming. Although less prevalent in the atmosphere, methane has been described as the most destructive greenhouse component. It’s generated by microbes that are involved in the cows digestion, some of which produce methane as a byproduct. There are approximately 2 billion cows in farms all-over the world. They’re a major source of food for humanity, whether it’s in the form of beef or dairy products. It’s a prime example of the destructive effect food can have on nature. However, there are ways of combating it that don’t necessarily involve changing our lifestyle.
Number 3 Food Waste
Food waste occurs all-over the world. It happens with retailers when they oversupply or reject food, based on their standards of quality and aesthetics. It also happens with people preparing too much and end up throwing away food. The impact on the environment, in certain cases, is fairly obvious. The processing, transportation, storing and preparation of food take energy and natural resources. When food is wasted, the impact on the environment would have been for nothing. Converting wild lands into agricultural sites has been affecting the world’s biodiversity for many years. Yet, according to recent food usage statistics, millions of acres are dedicated to food that we’ll never consume.
Number 2 Basra
Drought had affected the harvest of 1969. Over 100,000 tons of the grain was shipped to Basra that fall. However, distribution of the grain started after the farmers had already planted their seed. The labels on the bags were either in English or Spanish, none of which the locals understood. This combination of factors led to them ingesting the grain, mainly through the consumption of homemade bread.
Number 1 Honolulu Harbor
For more than 3 decades, a company in Maui produced molasses out of sugarcane, which was then shipped to the mainland for processing. In September, 2013, a faulty pipe led to the spilling of 1,400 tons of the substance into the Honolulu Harbor. Since there wasn’t any contingency plan for dealing with the spill, the only hope was that the natural currents would eventually flush the substance out of the water. A shipping company, called Matson Navigation, took responsibility for the spill and eventually settled to pay $15.4 million to the state of Hawaii.