Today I’m going to talk about one of the biggest yet ignored problems of the world. The Food Wastage. Do we ever rethink once before throwing away that last bite of food just because we feel we’re already full? Or when we leave food on the plate just because we didn’t like the taste? Without even realizing we’re committing a crime. Yes, wasting food is a huge crime and it’s time when people should recognize this.
If we are unable to give value to the food, we should ask those 1 million people who go to sleep on empty stomach, those infants who have died crying for milk and the poor kids searching for food in the heap of garbage. And here we’re earning well, buying whatever we want and then throwing away the food after every meal.
I even see people around me who prefer not to eat food which has been kept in the refrigerator for more than 10 hours. They believe food kept in the refrigerator for more than 12 hours is not fit to consume. Do such people also avoid all the frozen packaged food as well? No, they don’t it’s just that they believe there is no harm in throwing away leftover food.
Big fat Indian weddings, canteens, restaurants are throwing out food every day which otherwise has been enough to feed hundreds of people. It’s time people should start planning food sustainability and take serious steps to reduce food wastage.
Well, I would urge each of you to read the below facts and try to understand how massive the problem is.
- The number of hungry people in India has increased by 65 million. A figure which is higher than the population of a few major powers of the world, like France. (Business World).
- Acres of land is deforested to grow food. Approximately 45% of India’s land is degraded primarily due to deforestation, unsustainable agricultural practices, and excessive groundwater extraction to meet the food demand.
- 300 million barrels of oil are used to produce food that is ultimately wasted.
- On average, about one-third of the food produced is lost or wasted globally (as per the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation).
- According to UN estimates, 40 percent of the food produced in India is either lost or wasted. This food wastage, however, isn’t limited to one level alone but perforates through every stage; from harvesting, processing, packaging, and transporting to the end stage of consumption.
- A report by the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization states that every third malnourished child is Indian.
- According to a report cited in CSR journal Indians waste as much food as the whole of United Kingdom consumes.
- About 21 million ton of India’s entire wheat produces are wasted and 50 percent of all the food across the world meets the same fate.
- India ranks 63 among 88 countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI, UN data).
- Food wastage cripples a country’s economy to an extent that most of us are unaware. If food is wasted, there is so much waste of water used in agriculture, manpower, and electricity lost in food processing industries and even contributes to deforestation. Taking all of into consideration, the actual worth of money per year in India from food wastage is estimated at a whopping Rs 58,000 crore to over Rs 96,000 crore.
- According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, a third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted annually at a cost of some $680 billion in developed countries. The food wasted in Europe alone could feed 200 million people.
- When food winds up in landfills it produces methane, a greenhouse gas that is far more potent than the carbon dioxide, which primarily comes from fossil fuel use.
- In fact, if food waste were a country, it would be the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China and the United States. (As per outrider.org)
- Just under 7 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from food waste worldwide. This buzz is leading to new, innovative food waste solutions that can help address both hunger and global warming at the same time.”- worldhunger.org
- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, which keeps tabs on what’s grown and eaten around the globe, estimates that one-third of food produced for human consumption worldwide is annually lost or wasted along the chain that stretches from farms to processing plants, marketplaces, retailers, food-service operations, and our collective kitchens.
I hope these facts have hit you hard and decide to take steps to reduce the wastage at your own level. Its time when each of us realizes the amount of water, energy and other resources that have been invested to grow the crops before over-ordering and discarding the edibles.
France, for example, bans grocery stores from tossing edible food. South Korea prohibits food waste from landfills and requires people to separate food waste from their regular trash.
“Take All You Want But Eat all you Take”
Steps to Avoid Food Wastage
- Planning out your weekly meal is the most basic thing towards food sustainability. Once we plan our meals, we will buy what we actually need. About 20% of what we buy in urban India ends up being thrown away. So, it’s important to have an estimate of weekly/monthly consumption and then buy accordingly.
- Avoid impulse buying. Once we are in a supermarket, we often tend to buy more than we need. We should learn to analyze before buying, are you sure you’ll be able to prepare Italian or Chinese cuisine if yes then only buy the supplies. There’s no point in buying and then throwing it away.
- The most important one, reuse the refrigerated left-overs for the very next meal.
- Avoid cooking excess food. There is always an option to complete your meals with a few fruits or having a glass of milk rather than keep some extra food in the refrigerator. It’s a lot better and a healthier practice too.
- Don’t throw out fruits and veggies with ‘aesthetic only’ blemishes.
- When you buy vegetable and fruits try to consume them based on shelf life. Bananas have to be consumed within two days, but apples can be kept for longer.
- Check with NGOs who offer to transport excess food to the needy people. In India initiative like Roti bank has also come up which collects leftover food and then distribute the same to poor people. Cooked food has a lesser shelf life and hence needs to be consumed ASAP.
- Also, if you ever host a family get together either at home or outside at a hotel, make sure you that you have arranged for transportation of leftover food to an orphanage or to needy people.
- Make finishing your plate a habit. Ensure your plate doesn’t have excess that will end up in a dustbin. Try to inculcate it further to as many possible. We should also teach our kids or the kids around us to make a habit of finishing off the food.
I also didn’t know wasting food was causing such a big impact on our planet. Amidst all the chaos happening let’s together put a little effort in restoring the glory of our planet.