Food wastage: Crisis particularly grave in India - The Tribune India

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Food wastage

Crisis particularly grave in India

Food wastage


IN a world where 78.3 crore people grapple with chronic hunger, the revelation that 19 per cent of the food goes to waste demands urgent attention. The latest UN report underscores a stark reality: despite ample resources, the inability to manage food distribution effectively is not only morally reprehensible but also environmentally unsustainable. This crisis is particularly pronounced in India, where food wastage poses a significant challenge alongside persistent food insecurity. According to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, one-third of all food in India is wasted or spoiled before consumption. Household food waste alone is estimated to be around 50 kg per person annually. Another UN report had shed light on a disconcerting nutritional trend in India, where a staggering 74.1 per cent of the population cannot afford a healthy diet.

The environmental implications of food waste are equally alarming. Like many other countries, India faces the adverse effects of greenhouse gas emissions associated with food production and waste. Methane emissions from decomposing food waste in landfills contribute to climate change.

The UN’s findings should propel the world toward overhauling food systems and prioritising equitable distribution. In India, where millions struggle for adequate nutrition, addressing food wastage is a moral obligation. It requires a comprehensive strategy that integrates policy measures, public awareness campaigns and community-driven initiatives. Government interventions, such as implementing regulations to minimise waste and incentivising sustainable practices, are essential. Collaborative efforts between government agencies, NGOs and private enterprises can facilitate efficient redistribution of surplus food to underprivileged communities. Individual action can help combat food waste through practices like meal planning, utilising leftovers and supporting food banks.


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