My internship with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation this summer gave me an opportunity to further understand the impact of Timber harvesting operations on paper and forestry products. Temporally moving to Albany, NY for work came with a mixed feeling. What to expect from my new roommates, colleagues and new friends got me thinking for combination of solutions to make my summer a memorable experience. In the middle of all this apparent confusion in my head, my first day at work was greeted with news making rounds in the office: CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) LABELS GYPHOSATE AS CARCINOGENIC. Glyphosate, is the most popular chemical used on a large portion of the world’s agricultural land to control weeds. To this effect, the economic, environmental and social impact assessment of this phenomena if accepted by EPA in other states will not only have a detrimental effect on Monsanto and its employees but also the Paper and Bioprocess industry including students who graduate from this program. Interestingly, my project was reviewed in the first week to include research on alternative herbicides for glyphosate. Apparently, it appears organic alternatives like Natural acids(vinegar and acetic acids), Herbicide soaps, Iron-based herbicides, Salt-based herbicides, Phytotoxic oils, Corn gluten and Combination products are commercially available on the market. However their mode of action are generally considered more contact than systemic and more importantly are very expensive. Chemists are working assiduously to find a sustainable solutions to this problem and for the before we ever get to the worst case scenario. In the meantime, checkout my photos from the internship.
By Paul Gyampoh
MPS Sustainable Engineering Management, 2017