Fast Food and the Environment

Short Term Solution, Long Term Problems

fast food and the environment

When you’re in a hurry and you stomach is growling, it’s easy to succumb to the temptation of fast food. It’s easy, cheap, and for those with a taste for it, delicious. We all know we shouldn’t, but sometimes even the most fitness-conscious among us gets the urge to roll up to the drive-through, order a double cheeseburger and large fries, and wash the guilt down with a large, icy cup of soda.

One problem with eating fast food is the negative effects it can have on our health. Fast food is high in fat and calories, which aren’t bad in and of themselves, as long as we burn them off. The problems is, we often don’t. Just take a look at the regulars at your nearest fast-food burger joint. Fitness enthusiasts? Well, maybe not.

Environmental Concerns and Fast Food

Not only does the regular consumption of fast foods diminish health, but most fast food contains plenty of harmful chemical additives, such as preservatives, flavoring agents, and pesticides. It turns out that many of these aren’t just bad for you, they’re also bad for the environment. So, if the potential health risks aren’t enough to dissuade you, then perhaps the environmental consequences will.

It’s not just the chemicals in fast food that affect the environment, it’s the whole chain of production. First, fast food places sell an awful lot of meat. Most, if not all, of this meat is produced at factory farms, which contribute more to global warming than all of our cars put together. Second, many of their products are transported long distances, before they reach your booth, further increasing their impact on air quality.

They also have a negative effect on water quality, as pathogens, hormones, drugs, and the fertilizers they use tend to seep into surrounding groundwater, potentially causing outbreaks of waterborne illness, fish kills, and other hazards.

Fast food places also tend to use a lot of packaging. This overuse of wrappers, straws, bags, boxes, and plastic ware is the biggest source of urban litter in the U.S.

One could argue that those who purchase the products are the ones responsible for making sure they end up being properly disposed of, but fast food places could certainly attempt to use less of the stuff in the first place. Not only does it end up littering our streets, and contaminating our waterways, but its production causes massive amounts of deforestation and pollution.

[Photo Via: inhabitots.com]

One Response to Fast Food and the Environment

  1. this helped me with a school report on this. thanks for making this site, it help me get an A!

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