Monday, 31 March 2008

Like roses? Think again...

By no means do I want to claim that I'm a wonderful horticulturist, but I do not think I would be far off in claiming that roses are the best selling flower at any flower shop. No Valentines Day would be complete without the inclusion of a rose or two. Unfortunately, despite the beauty of a rose, the process of producing that rose isnt so pretty.

Surprisingly, the world's largest exporter of roses is Kenya. Kenya, unfortunately, does not have all the environemtal restrictions that we, in the developed countries, do.

Producing roses takes alot of water. The water that Kenya uses for producing their roses is drained from a lake called Lake Naivasha, which just so happens to be a bird and hippo sanctuary, and home to many species of fish. Every year, enough water is drained from this lake to meet the needs of 20,000 people, and along with the water, entire generations of fish eggs are siphoned up. Some of the water is washed back into the lake, contaminated with chemicals that are used to keep the roses fresh and pretty for their shipments out to Europe and North America - chemicals, like DDT and Dieldrin, which have been banned in countries that buy the roses from Kenya. The rotting corpses of hippos and birds betrays the presence of these chemicals in the lake.

So every time you buy a rose, youre likely giving your money to support an industry that is actively killing African wildlife, in a so called "sanctuary", no less. Much to the chagrin of my girlfriend, I dont think Ill be buying any roses for a while...

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