Exploitation of children in cocoa fields and respect for the environment

During my school years, the school established projects born to develop attention and interest in the environment and children’s rights.  These growing projects pushed me to do research on these topics, which sensitized my lifestyle. During my research I came across this topic very dear to me.

The chocolate industry is worth billions of dollars and is based on a chain, the production and processing of cocoa, whose workers in exporting countries Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, which together Cameroon and Ecuador earn less than a dollar a day. It is impossible for local producers to bear the costs of cultivation and this also encourages them to employ children, who are thus excluded from the education system, are exposed to dangerous working conditions and are paid even less than adults, without papers or any idea of how to return home from the plantations where they were lured with deception and promises.

They found children using machetes and chemicals, which unfortunately cause long-term mental and physical injuries.

To complicate the situation is added the increase in cocoa production in recent decades, driven by the growing demand for this product, Local farmers seek, on the one hand, to lower costs by employing under-age workers and, on the other hand, to increase harvesting with environmentally damaging practices, which are obtained by illegally destroying ancient and pluvial forests.

This favours a wide use of herbicides and pesticides that not only damage the soil and the health of workers, but in large quantities also strengthen the resistance of weeds and parasites to these chemical compounds, with all the consequences that this entails, the loss of biodiversity and the problem of the climate emergency.

In the last year, the slowdowns in intercontinental transport caused by the Coronavirus have blocked tonnes of cocoa in Côte d’Ivoire ports, which risk being wasted because of the unfavourable conservation conditions. I hope this topic will motivate legislators around the world to improve man and earth.

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Autore:

Lorenzo Sciuto

Classe:

2 C

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