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UN Report reveals that 17% of wasted food is just dumped4 min read

March 23, 2021 3 min read


UN Report reveals that 17% of wasted food is just dumped4 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In 2019, around 690 million people around the world were impacted by hunger. Additionally, three billion people could not afford a nutritious diet. What makes these figures even more disturbing is the fact that, according to new UN research, more than 930 million tonnes of food sold in 2019 ended up as waste.

Where did the food go?

The Food Waste Index Report 2021, produced by the UN Environment Programme and WRAP, reveals that households threw out 11 percent of food, while food service and retail outlets wasted five and two percent respectively. Out of the food wasted in all these spaces, 17% of the food is just dumped!

Further, some food is also lost on farms and in supply chains.

This means that a third of the food produced is never eaten. Juxtapose this with the number of people who go hungry everyday, and we have with us a very cruel statistic.

Though we associate food wastage with rich countries, the data revealed that the levels of waste were similar across the globe.

Starving the environment…

The report highlights that such wastage has far reaching social, environmental and economic impacts. Eight to ten per cent of the global greenhouse gas emissions are because of this unconsumed food.

Did you know?
The contribution of food wastage emissions to global warming are almost equivalent to that of global road transport.

Growing food that goes to waste uses up resources like freshwater, and cultivable land, that are already scarce. Transporting wasted food also causes greenhouse emissions. Waste food rotting in landfills also emits methane (CH4), one of the most harmful greenhouse gases.

Did you know?
Methane has 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.

Therefore, reducing food waste is essential for the world and its people.

Reducing food waste would cut greenhouse gas emissions, slow the destruction of nature through land conversion and pollution, enhance the availability of food and thus reduce hunger and save money at a time of global recession

Inger Anderson, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme

What is being done?

A special target of Sustainable Development Goals aims to halve the food waste at household and retail levels.

The Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be achieve a more sustainable future for the world. Set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly, they are meant to be achieved by the year 2030.

The study urges nations to reduce food wastage and also pushed for food waste to be included in Nationally Determined Contributions, plans through which countries commit to climate action in the Paris Agreement. The UN Food Systems Summit in 2021 will also provide an opportunity to tackle this issue at a global level.

While there are people trying to create changes on the global level, how about you and I give it a try at home?

At our individual level, we must commit to reducing food wastage. Let’s start small, from our homes, and gradually build it up. Every little step counts. And you can begin your journey by revisiting what our trailblazer taught us!

  • How can you reduce waste in your home? Read our article on going plastic-free at home to ponder this question
  • Can you reduce food waste at home? And even better, recycle it? How?

Sourced from United Nations.

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