Can Condoms Save the Rainforest?
That’s what the government of Brazil will try to find out. The country has opened a condom factory that hopes to simultaneously fight AIDS, provide work for Brazilian rubber tappers and help preserve the Amazon rain forest, says the Brazilian Health Ministry. The factory will get its latex by sustainably harvesting rubber from trees in the Chico Mendes forest reserve. Some environmentalists say the effort will provide economic incentives and diminish the need for deforestation.
The government hopes to distribute 100 million free condoms a year — produced by the factory — as apart of its anti-AIDS program. One of Brazil’s goal with this factory is to reduce dependence on foreign condoms. The country says it is the world’s single largest buyer of condoms.