Every year on June 5, World Environment Day brings together millions of people from all over the world and encourages them to act to protect and restore the planet. The 50th anniversary of the event is this year. The year 2023’s World Environment Day serves as a reminder that individual actions against plastic pollution matter. The result of this action is the work that corporations and governments are doing to combat plastic pollution.
How can hemp support fight against climate change?
Hemp has been a part of the sustainability discussion for a long time. For example, EIHA promotes it as a sustainable source. It is because hemp has potential to fight against climate change.
Firstly, because hemp plants don’t need a lot of pesticides and herbicides, they could be a sustainable crop for farmers. Additionally, compared to other crops, hemp has a high yield per hectare, which implies it can create more goods per unit of land. Because of this, it uses resources effectively and minimises its negative effects on the environment.
The capacity of hemp to absorb carbon from the atmosphere is another important benefit. Fast-growing hemp plants have the capacity to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions through photosynthesis. Hemp absorbs 9 to 15 tonnes of CO2 per hectare. This is almost equivalent to the amount that a new forest sequesters, yet it grows in just five months.
Additionally, hemp may affect biodiversity and the reduction of soil erosion. Hemp’s flowering cycle typically takes place between July and September, falling during a period when few other crops are producing pollen. Hemp produces lots of pollen. Additionally, it offers birds a place to nest, and animals can eat hemp seeds. Additionally, dense hemp leaves act as a natural soil cover depending on the soil’s quality. They prevent soil erosion and decrease water loss.
Eventually, hemp can contribute to a decrease in energy use in the building industry. The energy requirements of buildings can be decreased by using hemp-based building materials like hempcrete, which are very energy efficient.
World Environment Day with hemp
World Environment Day puts a global spotlight on the pressing environmental challenges of our times. With millions of people from all around the world joining in to protect the environment, this UN international day has grown to be the largest global platform for environmental awareness.
By 2050, there may be more plastic in the ocean than fish, according to UNEP. By reducing, reusing, and changing how we make and consume plastic, people can benefit the environment. The UN’s Secretary-General, António Guterres, also emphasised the significance of this day by saying:
Every day, the equivalent of over 2,000 garbage trucks full of plastic is dumped into our oceans, rivers & lakes.
We must work as one to break our addiction to plastic, champion zero waste & build a circular economy.
The World Environment Day is mainly concerned with plastic pollution and hemp can be a solution here as well. Sustainable bioplastics and biocomposites for things we use every day could be one option. Many of the widely used materials still include elements that are not sustainable or biodegradable. Furthermore, recycling is frequently an extremely difficult process, assuming it is even possible. Interestingly, hemp-based products look to provide a sense of optimism. A team of scientists created a novel strategy to get around these challenges.
They intended to use leftover hemp stalks to make bioplastics. To show the wide range of uses of their bioplastics, the researchers proposed a three-layer laminate as a potential application as an adhesive in bio-based composites. The concept illustrates the diversity of applications that these environmentally friendly materials can have in a number of industries.
Hemp is obviously not a magic bullet for addressing climate change. To cut down on greenhouse gas emissions and create a more sustainable economy, it might, however, be a crucial tool in the long term. Overall, Europe is approaching the introduction of hemp as a sustainable source with caution but support. Europe is concerned with making sure the plant is grown and used in a sustainable and safe manner.