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UN calls for action to end food waste culture

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star
UN calls for action to end food waste culture
“A staggering one-third of all food produced globally is lost or wasted. The evidence is becoming too hard to ignore. Food systems reform is critical to tackling the planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss and pollution and waste,” UNEP said.
The STAR / Ernie Peñaredondo, File

MANILA, Philippines — People waste one billion tons of food each year or one-third of all food produced globally, according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)’s Food Waste Index Report 2021.

“A staggering one-third of all food produced globally is lost or wasted. The evidence is becoming too hard to ignore. Food systems reform is critical to tackling the planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss and pollution and waste,” UNEP said.

The report said the global food systems have a profound impact on human and planetary health as they are responsible for 70 percent of the water extracted from nature, and account for up to one-third of human-linked greenhouse gas emissions. Agriculture has also been identified as the threat to 24,000 or over 86 percent of the 28,000 species at risk of extinction.

The United Nations is calling for stronger action to end the culture of throwing out food uneaten to help address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature loss and pollution.

In 2019, 931 million tons of food sold to households, retailers, restaurants and other food services ended up wasted.

An estimated 17 percent of food available to consumers in markets, households and restaurants goes directly into the bin and 60 percent of such waste is in the home.

Research by the Food and Agriculture Organization has found that approximately 14 percent of the food?produced for consumption globally each year is lost between harvest and the wholesale market.

“Food loss and waste account for up to 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. They use up precious land and water resources for, essentially, nothing,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP.

“Putting a serious dent in food loss and waste will slow climate change, protect nature and increase food security – at a time when we desperately need these things to happen,” Andersen said.

“We all have a role to reduce food waste in our own lives and workplaces. Yes, the burden of food waste and loss is heavy. But if we all get our shoulders beneath this burden, we can shift it,” she added.

With up to 811 million people affected by hunger in 2020 and with three billion people unable to afford a healthy diet, UNEP said collaborative global action to cut food loss and waste is essential.

FOOD WASTE
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