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Mar 24, 2021
Palm oil plantations look likely to become a new cause of deforestation and pollution across the Amazon: though companies say their supply chains are green and sustainable, critics in Brazil--including scientists & federal prosecutors--cite deforestation, chemical pollution, and human rights violations.
 
Mongabay's Rio-based editor Karla Mendes investigated one such project in Para State and joins us to discuss the findings of her new report, Déjà vu as palm oil industry brings deforestation, pollution to Amazon.
 
Beside the health toll of chemical sprays on Indigenous people whose land it encroaches, Mendes studied satellite imagery to disprove claims that the company only plants on land that's already been deforested.
 
Also joining the show are a scientist who's documented contamination of water sources and related health impacts, Sandra Damiani from the University of Brasília, plus a federal prosecutor in the Amazon region, Felício Pontes Júnior, who is trying to hold palm oil companies accountable for polluting Indigenous communities.  
 
Palm oil is used in a huge array of consumer goods sold in most countries--from snacks to ice cream & shampoo---and is a main cause of rainforest loss in Africa and Southeast Asia. Now, the industry sees the Amazon as prime new ground. 
 
Episode artwork: Fresh palm oil fruit, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo courtesy of Nanang Sujana for CIFOR.

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