Hemp In Paper Making
Various countries are trying out for better alternatives and a good example is Australia which is producing paper by various agricultural wastes and among them is hemp. The use of agricultural wastes gives them a chance of getting paper without any need of natural resources.Tree pulp paper making has various effects in the environment. Some of the effects are felt in air, land, and water.
Destruction of forests in the process of paper production has effects which are felt in the atmosphere. Forests produce oxygen and takes in carbon dioxide thus purifying the air. Climate is moderated by forests since they take in carbon and hence reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the air curbing the global warming effect. It is evident that in the northern hemisphere, carbon from the land is more important than that from oceans in storing carbon (Draper 1998, pg. 290). Cutting down of trees continues due to the rising need of papers. This overlooks the role played by trees in balancing of atmospheric gases. Green house effect is a major challenge rampant in the current society and it is all attributed to deforestation.
Land and Soil
Land and soil just like air have also been greatly affected by deforestation. In order to replenish soil and curb against soil erosion, trees play a role of holding it in place especially in sloppy regions. The root system also plays an important role anchoring soil and therefore helps keep silt away from rivers. Fish benefit from controlled erosion because they always prefer living in clear waters (Thompson 1995, pg. 184). Some of the fish species which prefer fresh water is Salmon species. The reproductive ability of this group of fish has been tremendously affected due to rise in runoff. Soil erosion causes loss of nutrients and therefore low productivity in the land.
Pulp and paper process also contribute a lot to land pollution. The production of mill sludge which has polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans affects wildlife and contaminates soil. Wildlife when exposed to this product ingests it and thus harming their bodies. When parents expose themselves to mill sludge especially expectant mothers, the embryo development is affected since it has psychological stresses effects (Keane & Meyne 1996).
The bleaching process has also proved to have negative effects on the environment. The old system used to use a lot of Chlorine compounds and therefore had great side effects. The modern one which uses oxygen still has negative effects though they are fewer. It is notable that the style used in the bleaching process determines the effects.
Hemp plant is in the group of marijuana and is an important resource in paper making. It has been of great importance in paper making industry for a long time. It is reported that before 1883 papers made from hemp ranged between 7.5 to 90% globally. Some of the well known works that used hemp paper include Gutenberg bible as well as the drafts of declaration of Independence. Moreover, before 1900 some papers were made from rags. These rags were remaining of clothing which was made from hemp (Meis, 1995). Therefore, it shows that paper was indirectly made from hemp. Due to increase in demand for paper, people were forced to look for other materials of paper making. Some of most preferred materials were timber and that is how timber came into the market. Most newspaper companies at that time were using timber in paper making. Hemp use went on use until 1938 when Canada banned its production (Draper, 1998). This led to its disappearance from the market and therefore most people lost the knowledge of its existences and potential use. In the current society hemp paper industries are coming up after it had disssapeared. The Canadian government once again gave its citizens the mandate to cultivate it after seeing the benefits of its use.
Use of Hemp as an Alternative
It is reported that currently in the world the consumption of paper has gone up rapidly due to increased use in various way. It has gone up by 64% from what it was in 1961. It is indicated by statistics that a company e-mail use brings about an increase of 40% of normal paper use. The current paper making industries are the third industrial polluter. About 120 billion tons of CO2 has been felt in the environment due to deforestation. There have been various debates about bringing back hemp use into the market and some of the reasons are not only due to its length, quality, and strength but because of other important aspects that it has as compared to trees. Hemp has twice the amount of cellulose as that of wood chips. There are no pesticides associated with its use as compared to that of trees.
Hemp has both positive as well as negative effects. Its effects can also be categorized as those of tress. For instance, it has been noted that it also has effects on land, soil as well as air. Some of these are the reasons why it cannot be used as an alternative since it is not 100% safe.
Fuel such as gasoline or diesel are used during the cutting down of hemp which brings about global warming due to the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Its effects in the atmosphere are not as hazardous as they are in cutting down of trees. This is one of the reasons why it can not be used since as much as its effects are few the problems are still there (Conrad, 68).
Soil and Land
Soil erosion is also not great as it is in cutting down of trees. Hemps help preserve soil since it anchors it and therefore protect it from runoff. It is able to build as well as preserve both top and subsoil (Conrad, 68). The indication that soil erosion still occurs even in its use shows that a better alternative should be sort to replace trees.
Hemp plant uses a lot of moisture in its growth and findings from a research by Ridge Town College shows that each hemp plant needs 300- 300mm of rainfall (www. Gov.on.ca/anafa/English/crops/fax/hempprod.html). Due to its great large consumption of water, it forces the society to opt for irrigation which also stresses the existing water bodies. In order to have a maximum yield of this crop, nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium are a necessity. Some nutrients can leach into the ground water when they are in excess and some of these are hazardous to the environment. For example, when there is excess nitrogen in water, it is unfit for human consumption. In case of a place like Southern Ontario, it can be detrimental since most its inhabitants use ground water in their daily chores. (Draper, 163). In addition, much water is required in hemp paper making process. It is used in the cooking process and after which it is used to wash away the chemicals lignin and pectin. Being highly absorbent material hemp requires a lot of water. This is one of the reasons as to why hemp paper use is very low because of its effect on the environment
Hemp is indeed a better alternative for trees though it is not 100% safe. Findings reveal that its use still has effects as those of trees though its problems cannot be compared to those of trees. It is also evident that it has not been in the market because after the rise in paper need there was a great need for other resources and this led to its diminishing in the market. However, it may prove to be of greater use in the future going by the current trend in deforestation.