A UN report should open our eyes to the grim relationship between a considerably large amount of wastage of food and the increasing hunger in the world. In 2019, the report says, an estimated 17% food was wasted in homes and at public eateries in the world. This is inhuman, even though it mostly results from negligence, particularly at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has slackened the fight against global hunger and it is feared that the pandemic may push another 83 million to 131 million people the world over to food insecurity.
In a much-needed move, the UN is creating a Food Waste Index with a view to supporting efforts to halve food waste by 2030. The index has uncovered several bitter truths about food waste such as it is equally prevalent in both developed and developing countries, as against the general perception that food waste was a problem only in developed countries. Around 931 million tonnes of food was wasted in 2019 in the world. In 2011, the Food and Agriculture Organisation had estimated that one-third of the world food was wasted or lost annually. Moreover, eight to 10 per cent of global greenhouse emissions are linked to food which is not consumed and wasted and an identical amount goes to waste in road transportation. Food production and transportation involve clearing of forests and burning of fuel and a large quantity of this food is wasted. Not only is this effecting climate change, it is also widening the gap between the overfed and hungry.
In Pakistan too, large amounts of food is wasted. It is visible especially at garbage dumps and wedding halls. This is a criminal waste in light of the World Food Programme Report 2020 which says more than three million Pakistanis are experiencing severe food insecurity. Few are wasting precious food and many are not getting enough of it. Malnutrition and hunger kill, and kill not so invisibly.