Saturday, August 10, 2013

Detrimental Wooden Chopsticks

In Korea, one of the most popular disposable items is chopsticks. Even some people who do not use a disposable lunchbox or a plate can not avoid disposable chopsticks. People use disposable chopsticks because of their convenience and lightness in contrast with metal chopsticks. However, the advantages of disposable chopsticks make us forget about the indirect harm that they do. Though disposable wooden chopsticks are thin, they are strong enemies of human beings and Earth.

One aspect of their harmfulness is their effect on the overall health of human beings. Chopsticks contain enormous chemical substances to make them white; therefore, using disposable chopsticks means eating chemicals. To cite an experiment that proves chemicals in disposable chopsticks are tremendous, let’s consider fish. Every fish in a tank died within twelve hours when they were put in water with disposable chopsticks. This seems to strongly point to the fact that the chemicals in disposable chopsticks soaking into the water resulted in the death of the fish.

Another aspect alerting people to the fact that disposable chopsticks are detrimental to life is the need to destroy trees in order to obtain wood for the chopsticks manufacture, and this causes a chain reaction. Disappearing woods can cause extermination of animals. For example, animals in Kenya are losing their habitats and disappearing at an alarming speed. This kind of situation not only threatens wildlife but also results in disappearing forests, which in turn result in less industrial pollution in the atmosphere being cleaned by the green leafy foliage of trees, case in point, the yellow dust that descends upon Korea every spring. Korean broadcasting station, MBC, reported that fifty thousand trees are annually cut in China just to make disposable chopsticks. This mass cutting of trees in China very negatively effects the amount of yellow dust blowing into Korea as the roots of trees no longer hold the soil in place or retain the earth’s moisture which supports a humid rather than an arid environment.

The final reason that disposable wooden chopsticks are hazardous to our planet is that they are discarded easily, and therefore, their chemicals leach into the soil damaging it and eventually spreading outward. Cleaning up discarded chopsticks requires great expense and wasteful effort, both of which could be so easily avoided if they were disposed of properly to begin with. Unfortunately, many chopsticks are tossed aside by people in the mountains and on picnics because people incorrectly assume that the chopsticks are wood and wood only and therefore are naturally biodegradable. When this happens, people must be employed to pick up this chemical attack on nature as chopsticks do not easily decay because of the chemical compounds that they were treated with. To put emphasis on why chopsticks should never be created, let alone tossed aside, the disposable chopsticks need at least twenty years to biodegrade, and that is an unnaturally long time for a thin piece of weak wood.

Using disposable chopsticks is of course very convenient, but they contain a lot of chemicals, cause the disappearance of forests and natural habitats, and definitely pollute the environment. For these three reasons, disposable wooden chopsticks are undesirable, detrimental, and death inducers of both nature and living organisms. Disposable chopsticks are of course convenient but at what a cost! Certainly people need to reconsider their consumer habits and think beyond convenience to the broader issues facing our own health and the health of our planet.


This phenomenal information came from Lee Seul, a student of many years ago, who wrote her five-paragraph persuasive essay in such a meaningful way that I asked if I could have a copy to share with future students as a model. She gladly gave me permission. Well done! I did clean up a few spots and reorganize a little data but overall, this is a writing example from my freshman writing class, and what an example! Thank you Lee Seul! I'm still appreciating this information.

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