Green Stories

Will you give up your plate of choma to beat air pollution?

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Kenyans, we are a diverse lot that doesn’t always agree on everything except for the fact that a good chunk of us love meat, particularly beef and the different ways in which it is cooked.

The most popular choma, washed down with a cold beer or perhaps you prefer boilo, chwaks or the traditional Luo delicacy, Athola.

Well, the United Nations (UN) is now asking you to reduce your meat intake to beat air pollution.

But what does your plate of choma have to do with air pollution?

Animal agriculture and Greenhouse Emissions

A report by top US scientist’s state that the greenhouse gas footprint of animal agriculture rivals that of a car, truck, bus, ship, airplane and rocket ship combined

With animal agriculture being the single largest contributor of ammonia pollution as well as other nitrogen compounds which affect air quality according to the (UN).

This is aggravated by the fact that all the world’s buildings, roads, and surfaces only occupy 1% of the earth’s land mass while agriculture occupies a whopping 45%, mainly used for grazing and growing feed for livestock (UN).

According to Our World Data, global beef and buffalo consumption increased from 28 million tons to 68 million tons between 1961 and 2014.

This increase in meat consumption increases the greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere leading to air pollution and eventually diseases and death due to the toxic gases in the atmosphere.

Plant-based proteins

There has been a global push towards consuming more plant-based proteins as an alternative to meat.

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A study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), reports that high levels of red and processed meat consumption increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

A plant-based diet solves not only the health problem but also one of climate change.

Foods such as kale, quinoa, beans, broccoli, and mushrooms provide the same nutrients meat does but are more sustainable to produce and less toxic to the environment.

In a bid to create a plant-based alternative that tastes just as good as beef; Ethan Brown invented Beyond Burger, a plant-based burger.

According to the University of Michigan, it requires 99% less water, 93% less land, and generates 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions, using 46% less energy to produce than it’s beef equivalent.

Will you take up the challenge and reduce your meat intake to help reduce air pollution?

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