Sci Tech –
Approximately 90% of the Laos’ coffee bean crop is produced in Paksong and Thatheng. The production is largely run by small family owned businesses that rely on coffee production as their only source of income. Coffee is greatly relied on the region which continues to depend on foreign aid.
The untreated waste from the coffee production process is polluting the water on the Bolaven Plateau. In order to produce clean green beans, the Arabica coffee wet-processing method creates a great deal of waste water. This waste water has a high sugar content, depleted value of biological oxygen demand and dissolved oxygen.
The Bolaven Plateau is an elevated region of southern Laos. Located between the Annamite Mountains and the Mekong River, the Bolaven Plateau is an altitude of around 1,350 metres. The plateau is perfect for coffee production with over a consistently moderate amount of rainfall as well as incredibly fertile soil.
Without the necessary waste management, damages to aquatic eco-systems and polluted water sources have occurred. This could have a negative effect to the health of nearby communities.
After extensive environmental research on the impact of coffee production, the WWF have been raising awareness of the issues and subsequently raised funding in order to propose an initiative which may begin to reduce the environmental effects of coffee production in Laos.