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01-10-2020 | Issue 1/2021

Environmental Management 1/2021

An LCA-Based Environmental Performance of Rice Production for Developing a Sustainable Agri-Food System in Malaysia

Journal:
Environmental Management > Issue 1/2021
Authors:
Siti Norliyana Harun, Marlia M. Hanafiah, Nur Izzah Hamna Abd. Aziz
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Abstract

This study aims to assess the environmental impacts of conventional and organic rice cultivations and proposes a sustainable conceptual framework of rice farming based on the life cycle assessment (LCA) approach. A cradle-to-gate LCA was performed by using the ReCiPe 2016 method and SimaPro 8.5 software. The functional unit was one ton of rice grains harvested. Primary data were obtained from the farmer, while secondary data were collected from Ecoinvent 3.0, the Agri Footprint 3.0 database and the literature. The total characterization factors for global warming potential (GWP), water consumption potential (WCP) and fossil fuel depletion potential (FFP) were 457.89 kg CO2-eq, 98.18 m3 and 84.56 kg oil-eq, respectively, at the midpoint level for conventional rice, while the impacts for organic rice were 140.55 kg CO2-eq, 29.45 m3 and 22.25 kg oil-eq, respectively. At the endpoint level, the total characterization factors for human health damage (HH), ecosystem damage (ED) and resource availability (RA) for conventional rice were 9.63 × 10−4 DALY, 5.54 × 10−6 species.year and 30.98 Dollar, respectively, while for organic rice, the impacts were 2.60 × 10−4 DALY, 2.28 × 10−6 species.year and 8.44 Dollar, respectively. Rice cultivation impacted the environment, particularly in relation to three impact categories: GWP, WCP and FFP. The cultivation phase of rice production was the main contributor to environmental impacts due to the production and application of fertilizer and pesticides. It can be concluded that the application of LCA in agricultural sector is able to provide information and responses for policy makers in understanding the potential environmental impacts at various spatial levels.

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