The Impact of Food Loss & Waste: Ways to Prevent It

Sansad Tv

Introduction:

The International Day of Awareness of Food Loss & Waste (IDAFLW) is celebrated with the theme ‘Stop Food Loss and Waste! For People and Planet,’ underscoring its significance in light of increasing global food insecurity. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, approximately 14 percent of the world’s food is lost between harvest and retail, with an additional 17 percent wasted during retail and consumption. This wastage contributes to 8-10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, threatening the sustainability and resilience of our food systems.

Behavioral Change at Home:

  • To combat this issue, we must start at home. Adopting mindful grocery shopping, minimizing single-use packaging, and consciously ordering from restaurants can make a significant difference.
  • Moreover, reevaluating extravagant buffet spreads at weddings is a step towards reducing food waste.
  • Community involvement is also crucial.
  • Initiatives like Coimbatore-based ‘No Food Waste‘ aim to redistribute excess food to those in need.
  • Shifting from a “food abundance” mindset to a “food scarcity” one is essential to reach a zero-waste goal.

Impact of Food Loss & Waste:

  • Reducing food loss and waste is imperative, especially as global hunger has been on the rise since 2014.
  • When food is lost or wasted, it squanders valuable resources such as water, land, energy, labor, and capital.
  • Additionally, the disposal of food waste in landfills generates greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change.
  • Toxins and leachate, a contaminating liquid, seep into the soil and groundwater from overflowing landfills, leading to pollution.
  • Reducing food waste also conserves energy and resources throughout the entire food production and distribution process.

Importance of Reducing Food Loss and Waste:

  • Addressing food losses near the farm is most effective in tackling food insecurity and reducing stress on land and water resources.
  • Reducing food waste in the supply chain and at the consumer level is essential for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The most significant improvements in food security are achieved by reducing food losses in the early supply chain stages, particularly on farms in regions with high food insecurity.
  • Furthermore, reducing nutrient loss from food loss and waste presents an opportunity to combat malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies.
  • It also lowers methane emissions from landfills and lessens the carbon footprint.

The Way Forward:

  • Educating children about food’s importance and its environmental impact is crucial.
  • Donating uneaten food from household parties to charities through NGOs can help. Practicing essential food safety techniques can minimize waste, while food waste audits help identify the reasons behind wastage.
  • Proper storage and temperature maintenance for perishable items reduce spoilage.
  • Some countries have already taken bold steps.
  • France mandates supermarkets to donate unsold food, Canada recovers unused food for charity, and Sweden’s recycling revolution has drastically reduced waste ending up in landfills.
  • In conclusion, preventing food loss & waste is not only essential for food security but also for environmental sustainability.
  • It requires a collective effort from individuals, communities, and countries to make a substantial impact.

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