Whenever we leave food on the plate, we might think it a small bite but have you ever wondered that this small bite adds to an average of 1.3 billion tons of food each year across the globe. In comparison, it is observed that this much food is quite sufficient to feed about 800 million people. This shows that one of the most brilliant creatures on the earth are alike others when it comes to food-wasting. We only care about ourselves and not about the others who don’t have enough to eat.
Some people might argue that “how can saving this small leftover food help someone in need?” It’s true that it does not directly contribute to the solution. However, it has an outstanding impact on the long run. Let’s try to understand the logic behind saving this small amount of food.
Let us first understand what does the term food wastage actually mean, in general, we can say that the food which is good for consumption but is somehow wasted by the consumer or can not be consumed on time like the expired products in supermarkets is considered under food wastage.
So we can categorize the food wastage in two-stages 1st due to processing and 2nd by the consumer. Research shows that in countries with less developed infrastructure like Africa the wastage of food during processing is very high in comparison to the 2nd stage of food wastage. So, it’s obvious that less food is wasted during processing in the developed countries. Now, what about consumer-generated waste??
It is surprising to note that the countries that consider themselves as developed, no doubt their wastage of food in the processing is very less, but their consumer-generated waste is considerably higher in comparison to others.
A study from the World Resources Institute (above graph) shows that in countries like North America and Oceania more than 60% of food waste is by the consumers whereas only 5% in Sub-saharan Africa.
In this hunger fight, women are the most affected, and women and girls constitute about sixty percent of the whole hunger population. They have an equal number share in farming but they lack the same farming tool, facility, legal rights, etc.
Some countries like China are known as the manufacturing hub for electronics but are not even able to produce food for their own people. China is in danger of a food crisis to such an extent that the president there has started a movement called “Operation Empty Plate” to minimize food wastage, which is a good initiative. But why countries are not focusing on this major crisis as much as they are for other insignificant issues.
The above graph shows that the amount of Greenhouse Gas (GHGs) Emission (4.4 GT) due to food wastes is more than the total GHGs of most of the countries.
Why is it happening? (The root of the problem)
For any country, in order to maintain sufficient stocks, governments have to go through various data related to consumption before making policies for food resources. Here we play our role in generating waste as our consumption data is more than the actual need. In this way, the leftover from our plates affects the supply chain of the food and eventually adds to the global hunger crisis.
In one of the surveys, it is shown that about one-third of the total food production has never been consumed because of less optimized farming techniques, storage facilities. In recent decades the supply chain has grown many folds. Now Amazon is able to ship the item to your doorstep within two or even fewer days in some areas. Can we ask ourselves a question that if any private player can do this for some products then why do some people have to sleep without food? Is this the progress we need or is this only for the giants to make more and more money?
Impact of wasting food!
Impact on lives: If we compare the death directly due to the food crisis is, even more, death due to deadly diseases AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.
Consumes a lot of resources: Food production and processing consume a lot of resources like water, fuel, electricity, etc. So, when we waste 1.3 billion tons of food we are wasting enormous amounts of other resources too.
Harmful for the environment:
Around 26% of global greenhouse emission comes from production of food that is never eaten. Also, when we waste more food, we need to produce more, which in turn requires more agricultural land. This leads to depletion of forest lands and disturbs the biodiversity.
So, what’s the solution …
Our selection of food can also help in bringing this severe impact to down. Reports say that the meat industry has the more contribution towards CO2 emission in comparison to the aviation industry. If we compare the calorie we feed any cattle, to get the same calories it also favors the decision to adopt vegan food. A country like India has around 30% non-veg eating population and processing which consumes a lot of energy. Hence, our selection of food can also reduce the harmful effects of food wastage.
Some people all across the globe are also working on this problem consortium Jamey biotech Pvt.Ltd working on converting food waste into biofuel and biogas, another company OLIO headquarters in London served across the 40 country aim to share the food to those we need it with the help of the mobile application.
Daily Dump is a Bengaluru based company that tries to reduce waste by different means in a very efficient way and we need more like that.
Sonam Wangchuk an Indian Innovator and education reformist, who has started the movement name “Live simply” aims to reduce the use of resources i.e. use resources as per the requirement and don’t waste it.
No doubt some of us are trying to change the situation but we need more volunteer companies, activists, leaders, students, and all the people around the globe to understand the fact that we are one family and we have limited resources to share with so help each other and live simply as much as possible.
“Cutting food waste is a delicious way of saving money, helping to feed the world, and protect the planet.”Tristram Stuart