It is shocking to learn that one-third of the food produced annually for human consumption is wasted (“Wasted food for thought,” Sept. 23). With the twin challenges of hunger and under-nourishment looming large, especially in underdeveloped countries, it is necessary to avoid food wastage.
About Rs 60,000 crore worth of food grains are wasted in India every year due to poor storage and transportation. Even the Supreme Court has taken note of the colossal loss, saying the government should distribute food grains free to the poor instead of letting them rot. Our weddings and festivals are other instances of food wastage. According to Global Food - Waste Not, Want Not, around 550 billion cubic metres of water are used to grow crops and the demand for water in food production may reach 13 trillion cubic metres a year if we do not regulate our wastage. Globally, the effect of overpopulation plays a crucial part in human calamity and the word “population” is tactfully not mentioned. Scientists in the 2012 Rio conference on sustainable development urged action not only on reducing consumption, but also on slowing population growth.
It is paradoxical that food is wasted despite ample production. This points to the highly flawed and injudicious distribution of food across the world. However, the most visible form of food wastage occurs in the name of sophisticated but pointless practices such as providing food on flights. Tonnes of plastic and food are churned out every year from airports. An eco-friendly alternative needs to be put in place. We could begin lessons on valuing food at homes and centres of education. Residential institutions can join hands with NGOs to ensure that leftover food reaches the needy. Every big endeavour begins with tiny steps.
Keywords: food wastage