Wastage of food
Food is one of the prime human rights. It is the most important ingredient for our living system. In the era of 21st century's globalization, when a Group of people in our world spend a relaxed, luxurious life, there's also 800 million of people around the world who fall asleep every night dreaming of food with a burning stomach. Starvation, half-starvation. Malnutrition seems to be their constant companion.
Food waste is one of the main causes of the global food crisis as well as the economic crisis. In fact, wasted food is the major problem of the whole world in recent times. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States, One-third of the world's food is wasted. The amount is 1.3 billion tons according to the reports of the World Economic Forum.
Due to food wastage, the possibility to meet the growing demand for food is decreasing. As a result, the number of hungry people is increasing day by day. In Bangladesh, food is constantly wasted through apartments, hotels, restaurants, community centres, party centres and various clubs. This waste occurs in two stages. Firstly, from food production to marketing to the whole supply and Secondly from consumer's food selection to its uses. The tendency of not cooking foods during its expiry period, lack of adequate food storage and reluctance to recycle foods are the main causes of food waste at the consumer level in Bangladesh.
In many residential apartments in this country, excessive amounts of food are cooked only for fulfillment of their whims, which is later wasted or discarded due to inability to eat. An average of 65 kg of food is wasted per family in Bangladesh each year. Tendency of showingfinancial capacity by organizers, forcedly serving more food to guests and lack of food crisis awareness also leads to large amounts of food waste.
According to a survey, 18 percent of the world's food is wasted in restaurants and coffee shops each year. Natural disasters at the stage of food production, pest infestation, lack of appropriate planning, purchase and preparation of too much food, errors in industrial processing and keeping up with food safety policies, managerial, financial and technical constraints, Over-preparation and Over-merchandising of food in restaurants, hotels and the foodservice industry, consumer behavior etc. are also some of the causes of food waste in Bangladesh. According to UNEP, the total food wastage in Bangladesh is 1crore 6 lakh 17 thousand 233 tons per year.
Food waste is not just a waste of food; at the same time, it is a waste of our natural resources too. Biodiversity loss, blue water footprint, increased carbon footprint and the acceleration of climate change, economic consequences are the main effects of food wastage. Two and a half hundred square kilometers of potable water is required for food production every yearwhich is a quarter of the total pure water of the world. Forests have to be destroyed to meet the growing demand for agricultural land in order to produce more food.
The amount of food wasted in the world every year is used to produce 1.4 billion hectares of land; which is 26 percent of the world's total agricultural land. Water used for the production of wasted food is increasing the crisis of pure water. On the other hand, the demand for agricultural land is destroying the environment by deforestation. The soil is also losing its fertility by the pesticides. Greenhouse gases are produced by the use of fuels in food production, storage, processing, transportation and even cooking. Plastics used in food marketing and transportation are also a threat to biodiversity.
Studies have shown that the toxic methane gas produced by farms alone is 64 times more harmful than carbon dioxide in global warming. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) says, 30 percent of the world's food system produces greenhouse gases including food wastage. Every year, 3.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide is released into the air by mixing with the wasted food which is constantly destroying the Ozone layer of the earth and upsetting the balance of the environment and climate.
Over food production and the waste of that food is causing environmental catastrophe, on the other hand, billions of people in the world are starving in the food crisis. It is seen that the huge amount of food wasted by the rich countries of the world is equal to the food produced in Sub-Saharan Africawhich is inhumane and also a threat to the environment of the world.
A huge amount of food is wasted every day, willingly or unwillingly in Bangladesh. On the other side, a large number of people living in coastal, marginal and poverty-stricken areas are suffering from hunger and malnutrition. Such discrimination is not justifiable in any way. Food waste is not only inhumane, it is also a threat to the national nutrition, productivity and economy of any country.
Public should be aware to prevent food waste. Government should immediately take sustainable food waste management. Voluntary organizations can also play a key role in terms of creating public awareness on food wastage. Combined initiatives and awareness can play a significant role to prevent food waste and tackle the food crisis largely.
The writer is a student,