Once I was attending my friend’s marriage party, I accidently reached to drain-board. I saw some buckets full of superfluous food. Some grubby dishes were also full of food ready to be dumped. I returned to party venue. I again noticed more than half number of dishes on the floor was almost full of superfluous food. It caught my attention. I waited till the end of party to see total amount of food wastage. At the end, I found almost one-third of total cooked food was left unconsumed.
After returning home, I searched internet and found that globally, about one-third of edible parts of food (about 1.3 billion tons) for human consumption get squandered every year. Food wastage is severe in developed and industrialized country compared to developing country. Per capita food loss in Europe and North-America is 280-300 kg/year whereas 120-170 kg/year in Asia and 6-11 kg/year in South East Asia.
Food wastage is significant greenhouse gas (GHG) producer. Avoidable food wastage generates 113 million tons GHG per year which cost $198 billion in USA and 1 million ton CO2 eq. per year in UK and 170 ton of CO2 eq. per year in EU. Food Wastage produces methane which is 23 times more potent Green House Gas than CO2. It also leads to pollution, disease outbreak, and global temperature rise as well as fuel loss during transportation, production, storage and dumping.
However, about 870 million people are undernourished during 2010-12 (12.5% of global population) out of which 852 million live in developing country. About 925 million people (13.1% of global population) are suffering from hunger. Globally, percentage of undernourished and stunting children is about 16 and 26 percent respectively in 2010.
I did calculation and found that if single person save 200 grams of food each day, annually s/he can save 73 kg. According to one research in Australia, on average, avoiding 1kg of food waste could avoid 1,000 liter of water being wasted and emissions of CO2 eq. 3.8 kg.
Knowingly or unknowingly, 200 grams of food wastage per day per person is common almost in every country and no one care about it too. Food wastage is more severe in developed country. But just saving amount of food we don’t even care kills appetites of many people, saves huge money and fuel, reduce health and environmental problems, reduce GHG emission and pollution and checks degradation of agricultural lands etc. Beside that, reducing food wastage could stop one out of seven people on earth going bed without food, 16 percent of total children being unnourished and millions of people being suffered from malnutrition.
If so, why not start to reduce food wastage! Let’s make a step to avoid wastage of food and feed rest world dying of hunger. We need to change our food habit. Lets start!!!! First purchase enough food but not excess and use before it expires, reduce wastage as much as during cleaning, storing, cutting etc., don’t cook food more than necessity. If so, call neighbor to eat; strength friendship or develop new. If cooked food remains unconsumed, dry it or store for next time or feed pets but don’t dump.
One single creative idea and action can reduce food wastage and many more. Just ‘THINK.EAT.SAVE.’ Think about right consuming in each step. Eat without wasting even single pinch of food. Save food, save environment and save life of many hungry people around you. Let’s join our hands to save our environment by saving our food and finally saving many human lives.
Achieving Food Security in the Face of Climate Change
Big Facts on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security.
Feeding the 5,000
How to Feed The World in 2050: Action in a changing Climate
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Interview with Robert van Otterdijk, SAVE FOOD
Michael Jackson Earth Song World Environment Day
The Global Food Crisis
The work of UNEP’s Resource Efficiency Programme on Agri-Food
Think.Eat. Save. Reduce your foodprint!
UNEP discussion paper on the role of global food consumption patterns in sustainable food systems
World Environment Day 2013
Zero Hunger Challenge
Edward, B., (2011). Waste Not, Want Not: Stop Wasting Food. Retrieved from
FAO, WEP, and IFAD. (2012). The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012. Economic growth is necessary but not sufficient to accelerate reduction of hunger and Malnutrition. Rome, FAO.
Gustavsson J., Cederberg C., Sonesson U., Van Otterdijk R., Meybeck A. (2011). Global Food Losses and Food Wastage – Extent, Causes and Prevention. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Rome, 2011.
Institute of Mechanical Engineering. (January 2013). Global Food Waste Not, Want Not. London: Author.
Nellemann, C,. MacDevette, M., Manders, T. Eickhout, B., Svihus, B., Prins, A. G., kaltenborn, B. P. (Eds). (February 2009). The environmental food crisis – The environment’s role in adverting future food crisis. A UNEP rapid response assessment. United Nations Environment Programme, GRID-Arendal, http://www.grinda.no
Nepal United Nation World Food Program – Fighting Hunger Worldwide. (2013). Overview. Retrieved from http://www.wfp.org/countries/nepal/overview.
WHO (2012). World Health Statistics 2012. Geneva, Switzerland: Author.
World Environment Day 2013. (2013). Food Wastage Facts. Retrieved from http://unep.org/wed/quickfacts/
Venkat, K. (2012). The Climate Change and Economic Impacts of Food Waste in the United States. International Journal of Food System Dynamics 2(4), 2011, 431-466.
Waste and Resource Action Program and WWF. (2011). The Water and Carbon Footprint of Household food and Drink Waste in the UK: A summary for Wales. Retrieved from www.wrap.org.uk.
- Reduce food waste dramatically with simple acts, says UN (guardian.co.uk)
- Global campaign to change culture of food waste launched (eco-business.com)
- UN reveals global campaign to reduce food waste (siliconrepublic.com)
- FAO, others launch global campaign on food waste (ghanabusinessnews.com)
- Think Soup – Reducing Food Wastage & Water Insecurity Issues Heading Towards 2050 (hori-wood.com)
- Food waste: how much of it is consumer responsibility? (guardian.co.uk)
- UNEP & TreeHugger Launch Blogging Contest for World Environment Day (treehugger.com)
- Stomping out Foodprints (greenerideal.com)
- Green Bloggers: Join Unep’s Blogging Competition and Win the Opportunity to Cover World Environment Day 2013, on June 5! (bijeshmishra.wordpress.com)
- Climate change and agriculture – what do we need to do differently? (slideshare.net)