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article imageValentine Bouquets 'are bad for the Planet'

By Chris V. Thangham     Feb 13, 2007 in World
Valentine's Day Bouqet are bad for the planet, some say it is and some say it is not.
The Valentine's Day bouquet — the gift that every woman in Britain will be waiting for next week — has become the latest bête noire among environmental campaigners. Latest Government figures show that the flowers that make up the average bunch have flown 33,800 miles to reach Britain. In the past three years, the amount of flowers imported from the Netherlands has fallen by 47 per cent to 94,000 tons, while those from Africa have risen 39 per cent to 17,000 tons.
Valentine's Day bouquet in the early years it used to be grown from nearby towns. But now with special flower farms, where flowers grow continually not just on seasons, this long distance mileage has become a problem for Environmentalists. The latter say, this "flower miles" will cause serious implications on climate change in terms of carbon dioxide emissions from airfreight.
Andrew Sims, the policy director of the New Economics Foundation, says, there are plenty of flowers that grow in winter also, so one doesn't need this climate controlled farms.
"Air freighting flowers half way round the world contributes to global warming. "You can argue the planes would be flying anyway but the amount of greenhouse gases pumped out depends on the weight of the cargo."
Vicky Hird, of Friends of the Earth, on the other suggest something different, instead of giving bouquet one should grow their own gift in the form of rose plants, tulips etc.,
The figures also revealed that imports of roses from Ethiopia have grown from zero to 130 tons a year since 2003. This is just in England, imagine the entire imports of the world. Netherlands, Kenya, Columbia and Spain are the next biggest exporters of flowers to United Kingdom. The total spending in Britain, £315 million of flowers, with the typical Briton spending £39 a year on them.
While the Flowers and Plants Association has a different take on this subject.
"That's very little when you think what we spend on CDs, coffee and even lipstick," said a spokesman for the Flowers and Plants Association.
He said the boom in Third World flowers would help poorer countries to build schools and boost the economy.
Do you agree to this "Valentine's Day bouquet is bad for the planet"?
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