Before You Thrash It
The world population is growing at an alarming rate so is the demand for food and other resources to cater to the rapidly increasing young population. According to the FAO, One in every nine people does not have enough food to eat, that’s roughly 793 million people who are undernourished.
Unfortunately, in spite of the ravaging hunger and inadequate food in many places, food wastage is a daily occurrence all over the world. In fact, it is estimated that about one-third of the world’s food is thrown away. From an economic perspective, the global economy could have saved a whopping $940 billion every year but all of that is lost to food wastage.
In 2016, the World Hunger and Poverty Facts and Statistics estimated that there is enough food produced in the world to feed everyone. But one-third of this food produced ends up being wasted and this trend occurs mostly in developed countries. The Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction estimated that almost half of all fruits and vegetables produced are thrashed.
The Relationship Between Climate Change and Food Waste
The impacts of climate change have resulted in poor yields in agricultural produce especially in sub-Saharan Africa causing a ravaging hunger in the land. Also, half of all fruits and vegetables go to waste mainly because of inadequate processing and storage facilities. Food wastage is contributing to the climate crisis in ways we never imagined. According to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), Up to 10% of global greenhouse gases come from food that is produced, but not eaten. This is due to the fact that based on IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land, food rotting in landfill releases methane that is 28 times stronger than carbon dioxide. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) on World GHG Emission 2016 estimated that food wastage is even worse than total emissions from flying (which is 1.9%), plastic production (which is 3.8%), and oil extraction (which is 3.8%).
Eliminating global food wastage would save 4.4 million tonnes of C02 a year, this is the equivalent of taking one in four cars off the road (YouSustain). This is because if food waste was a country, it would be the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the USA and China (FAO).
What Can Change?
A lot can change about global food wastage, we start by changing the narratives. At Step Up Green Climate Warriors Initiative, we go into communities in Africa and the hinterland sensitizing the people — especially young people — about climate change, our roles in it, and how we can mitigate its impacts in our communities. Food wastage can also be tackled with adequate storage facilities, farmers in remote areas do not have good storage facilities for their products and by the time it reaches the market, they are already decomposing leading to loss and damage. Adequate storage facilities and fruit and food processing plants would drastically reduce the amount of food that goes to waste every day.
Before you thrash it, remember there are millions of people who do not have a third of that on their plates. Let us consume responsibly, it is our responsibility.
-Joshua Imoikor & Abiodun Aina
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