•      Thu Jul 25 2024

One billion meals go waste at household across world in a day: UNEP report

Quake survivors taking food in Jajarkot (file)

Kathmandu, March 29: At least one billion meals go to waste at household level across the world every day, that is to say, per person waste amounts 79kg of food in average in a year, according to a recent report released by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

The Food Waste Index Report, 2024 released by UNEP on Wednesday stated that the food waste, including the edible ones, is equivalent to 1.3 meals every day for those suffering hunger globally.

The household food waste in Nepal stands 93kg per capita annually as per report. The data stands at 55kg per capita annually in case of India while at 76kg per capital per year in case of China.

“In 2022, the world wasted 1.05 billion tonnes of food. This amounts to one fifth (19 per cent) of food available to consumers being wasted, at the retail, food service, and household level. That is in addition to the 13 percent of the world’s food lost in the supply chain, as estimated by FAO, from post-harvest up to and excluding retail,” the report mentioned.

Food waste: Market failure, environmental failure

The report has defined ‘food waste’ as ‘food and the associated inedible parts removed from the human food supply chain.’ It has dubbed food waste as a market failure which results in the throwing away of more than one trillion US dollars worth of food in a year.

Importantly, the report has extensive links of food waste to SDGs and climate actions. The food waste is also described as an environmental failure in the document. “Food waste generates an estimated 8–10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions (including from both loss and waste), and it takes up the equivalent of nearly 30 per cent of the world’s agricultural land,” it reminded.

The report has sought a special role from G20 countries to raise awareness about food waste at home and transfer knowledge on it to others. It read: “G20 countries can take a leading role in international cooperation and policy development to deliver SDG 12.3, can use their substantial influence on global consumer trends to promote awareness and education about food waste at home, and can share their expertise with countries just getting started in tackling this issue.”

In this connection, the UNEP News wrote: “Food waste is a global tragedy. Millions will go hungry today as food is wasted across the world,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.

“Not only is this a major development issue, but the impacts of such unnecessary waste are causing substantial costs to the climate and nature. The good news is we know if countries prioritise this issue, they can significantly reverse food loss and waste, reduce climate impacts and economic losses, and accelerate progress on global goals,” Andersen added.

Similarly, the document has shown south Asia having highest household food waste data points- with 31 estimates over seven countries, which it said equates to an estimate for all countries in the sub-region except Iran and Nepal.

The authors of the report are Hamish Forbes, Eloise Peacock, Nettie Abbot and Michael Jones (WRAP). Similar report was made public last time in 2021.

The UNEP has underlined the need of addressing food waste at individual and systemic levels by setting targets and channelizing efforts accordingly. International collaboration among countries- both developed and developing ones- has also been equally stressed for addressing this global challenge. #Nepal

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