LatestFood wastage is the major cause of Global hunger and climate crisis:...

Food wastage is the major cause of Global hunger and climate crisis: UN

Even though over 730 million people are hungry worldwide, food wastage is very high (billion meals are wasted every day) in both wealthy and developing nations. According to the UN Food Waste Index report, which was released on Wednesday, almost a fifth of food is lost globally at a cost of approximately $1 trillion annually. This can occur from carelessness or poor planning, as well as from a lack of access to refrigeration or storage.

About 60% of the 1 billion tonnes of food wastage globally each year is attributable to household waste. However, commercial food systems also play a significant role: according to the most recent data available, in 2022, food services accounted for 28% of waste and retail for almost 12%.

A further 13% of food wastage in the food supply chain between harvest and sale, is frequently due to edible food being rejected or spoiling, and this amount is not included in these estimates.

In addition to wasting natural resources, this waste plays a significant role in the climate and biodiversity crises. It is responsible for nearly 10% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide and drives animals away from intensive farming since over 25% of the world’s agricultural land used to produce food that then wasted.

Food wastage is “a global tragedy,” according to Inger Andersen, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, which co-wrote the report with the UK’s Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap). He contrasted this with the reality that a third of people experience food insecurity, meaning they don’t know where they will get their next meal.

Millions of people will go hungry today as a result of global food wastage, according to Hansen. This is not only a significant development concern, but the effects of this needless waste are also seriously harming the environment and the climate.

Few nations have programs in place to cut down on food wastage, and the majority of them forget to include it in their suggestions for cutting carbon emissions.

Thanks to the UN’s current access to trustworthy data from over 100 nations, scientists can now declare with assurance that food waste is a worldwide issue that affects both wealthy and developing nations alike. Hot countries seem to throw away more food than other countries. This could be due to a combination of factors like lack of refrigeration, shorter spoilage times for food at higher temperatures, and a larger consumption of fresh food that has more inedible components.

Notably, lower-income households discard food at a rate that is not significantly less than that of higher-income households: on average, they were accountable for approximately 7 kg less of waste per person annually than those with higher earnings. This could be the result of a variety of things, such as a lack of access to sufficient refrigeration and storage, a reliance on subpar food, and insufficient time to prepare wholesome meals.

Chief Executive Officer of Wrap, Harriet Lamb, urged nations to act. “More coordinated efforts across supply chains and continents required. All stakeholders, be they governmental, corporate, or charitable, need to support initiatives that address the serious consequences that food waste poses to our environment, our economy, and our food security.

Approximately 79 kilograms of food iwasted per person annually worldwide. Food waste has decreased significantly since 2007 in a few nations, though, including South Africa, the UK, Australia, Indonesia, Mexico, and Mexico. Food waste has decreased by over a third in Japan and roughly 18% in the UK.

To decrease waste and address the issues of hunger and rising living expenses, Lisa Moon, the CEO of the Global FoodBanking Network, has urged food manufacturers and merchants to collaborate more directly with food banks.

“Food banks are a significant and unique model in reducing food loss and waste, as they ensure that food reaches the tables of those who are facing food insecurity in addition to working with farms, manufacturers, retailers, and food services to rescue wholesome food,” the speaker stated.

“To create food systems that nourish people and the planet, we must push stronger food waste policies and continue to invest in community-led solutions.”

To compost food waste and keep it out of landfills, where its decaying produces the potent greenhouse gas methane, the UK government has announced £295 million in financing for local councils to arrange weekly pickups of food waste. Research indicates that segregating food waste can motivate individuals to change their purchasing patterns by making it evident how much of their purchases end up in the trash.

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