Friday, May 20, 2016

The Cost of Sugar.

Yesterday I posted on how we made sun evaporated sugar at home. One of the reasons why we felt the need to stop using processed sugar and use our own sugar was because consumption of sugar and jaggery come with a price tag- that of our health. But that is not what this post is about- Sugar production comes at another great cost- that of environment and our nation.
When the country is facing an acute water scarcity- sugar is something we cannot afford to produce and export. But we do it and continue supporting a luxury that we cannot afford.

It takes 2100 liters of water to produce 1 kg of sugar. This means that in a state like Maharashtra, which is facing acute drought, sugarcane occupies 4% of the cropped area but consumes 70% of irrigated water.
So every gram of sugar requires 2.1 liters of water, which means- A 330 ml of Coca-Cola can, which has 35 grams of sugar (7 teaspoons) took 73 liters of water just to make it sweet. An India Today report points out that the daily requirement of water in Latur is 85 liters per person. So every time one drinks a can of coke- crudely putting, one is robbing a person's entire day's supply of water !!!
Now that's how demanding our sweet tooth could be.

In 2014-2015, India produced around 28 million tonnes of sugar-  3.7 million tonnes more than demand. This excess sugar was exported and when we export sugar, we are essentially exporting water. A commodity that we are facing acute shortage of.

Like I mentioned above it takes 2.1 million liters of water to produce one ton of sugar. So when we exported 3.7 million tonnes of sugar we exported 7770 billion liters of water. Assuming a district like Latur requires 209 million liters of water a day, we exported 37,177 days of water requirement of Latur. To put it in simply, "India's one year of sugar exports, took away a districts century worth of water supply"

So not just your health- sugar can strip away a nation's vital resource too. Take this challenge- Try and see if you can completely stay away from processed sugar. If  you can, you will be doing a great service to yourself and the country. 

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