Marijuana , cocaine, and methamphetamine (also known as meth) are illegal drugs in the United States. Despite their illegal status, they are popular drugs with many people. Some people justify their use of these drugs, claiming that they are not hurting anybody except themselves. Although these drugs can cause problems with relationships and can lead to crime, all three of these drugs are harmful to the environment. Everyone that lives on this planet pays when other people use these drugs because of the environmental damage that they cause.
Marijuana and Fertilizers
Marijuana is grown both indoors and outdoors. More than half of the marijuana grown in the United States is grown on public lands, including National Parks. People like to grow marijuana on public lands because they are less likely to be discovered. Unfortunately, for every acre of marijuana that is grown, ten acres will be damaged by the fertilizers and chemicals that are used to grow the drug. About 1 1/2 pounds of pesticides are used for every 11 1/2 marijuana plants that are grown. In California’s national parks and forests, dead bear and deer were discovered in places where marijuana was grown, poisoned by pesticides placed there by growers.
Cocaine and Deforestation
Cocaine is produced from the coca plant, which is often grown in Colombia’s rainforests. Half a million acres of rainforest are destroyed in Colombia every year, primarily to grow coca plants. For every pound of coca paste produced, 650 pounds of trash are produced and 100 gallons of water are contaminated. Every gram of cocaine that is produced will destroy 43 square feet of rainforest.
For every pound of meth produced, five pounds of toxic waste is left behind as a byproduct. Meth cooks aren’t generally worried about disposing of this waste in a safe manner. This toxic waste is often dumped in parks and forests; sometimes it is even disposed of in backyards. The waste contaminates groundwater, streams, and sewage systems. The environmental damage can last for years to come.
Marijuana, meth, and cocaine are not drugs that only hurt one person. Even if you are able to use these drugs without messing up your relationships or losing your career, everyone suffers when someone uses these drugs. These drugs are destructive to the environment, leaving damage for both this generation and the next. If you care about the earth, not using these drugs can be a better way of “going green” than changing a lightbulb or using a cloth bag at the grocery store.
Partnership Meth Team. “How Do Drugs Impact Our Environment?” Methresources.com, April 22, 2009.