What Pollution Means for the Tea Industry

As growing populations throughout China, India and Taiwan threaten local environments due to increased pollution distributed into in the air, water and soil, the question of organic and otherwise untainted crops for all sorts of food and drink are becoming an increasingly large topic of discussion. One industry in particular that has begun looking into what ramifications pollution will have on its industry is the tea business, which currently is a multi-billion dollar industry that employs and creates thousands of jobs.


Tea fields are like other crops in that they need healthy soil, ample water and clean air to thrive as well as bring out the taste in their products. However, when the soil becomes tainted, the air polluted and the rainfall more acidic due to various pollution factors there is a large risk that farmers may no longer be able to sell their products in the market despite months of preparing and hard work.


Tea is a unique crop in that it takes months for the leave to grow and fully reach a state of freshness that is suitable for drinking. Most crops are seasonal and tea for the most part is no different but the conditions in which tea grows is almost entirely based on the external environment unlike other crops, which can be produced organically with the aid of indoor facilities and greenhouse rooms. Unlike vegetables that can be nourished with the aid of already made nutrients and indoor sprinklers that feed water to the plants, tea relies solely on the nutrients found in the earth, as that is what makes the taste in tea differentiate from one to the other. The soil is unique in that it has undergone hundreds if not thousands of years of development, with tea branches extending deep into the soil and feeding off the changes in the earth. This is a major factor that cannot be replicated from simply purchasing run of the mill soil, as there is not standard per se for tea.


Secondly, if rainfall is either too little or lacking in cleanliness the taste of tea is highly affected. Natural rainfall from the earth as opposed to water that has been filtered and redistributed into the market has a completely different affect on a tea’s taste, which is why any serious tea maker doesn’t use sprinklers for their crops. The reality of the tea industry is that quite often in years of drought a certain area’s tea will be a flop for that time period, which could last months or even years. It is a massive struggle for some tea dealers that are often not mentioned in mainstream media, making water an important issue. But despite the droughts farmers still do not look to alternative forms of watering due to taste. Also, if there are floods that come through or other factors that may infect water that leaks into the crops without the farmer’s control then that farmer can kiss their had work goodbye.


Lastly, the air quality in which tea is grown is very important, as is the natural air it consumes in general. For example, the mist and fog in which a tea is grown heavily influences the taste and complexion, which is a huge selling point and advantage a farmer has over others competing in the market. This type of environment cannot be replicated indoors. More so, the teas grown at higher elevations are subject to much cleaner air that highly affects the taste. The elevation and natural sunlight factors are among many other reasons why tea relies on a natural environment to grow.


Therefore it is important to realize that if there is any pollution within these elements then the tea can be guaranteed to lose its quality. Tea dealers cannot turn to alternative sources to protect their crops and rely solely on the natural processes and balances within local ecosystems. If the industry is going to survive then there needs to be protection from chemicals in the soil, harmful chemicals spilled into the air or in the water. There is a massive industry built around cultivating tea and bringing it into the cups of consumers all over the world, which makes it a very important asset for countries like China, Taiwan and India. There needs to be more effort to protect these ecosystems and keep one of the world’s longest standing crops alive and thriving, which begins by increased effort in keeping the environment clean and free from pollution as much as possible.

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