By Anush Garg:
In India, ‘malnutrition’ has been termed as a “National Shame” by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh; as one in every three malnourished children in the world is from India
According to the collective reports in 2011, about 1.3 billion tons of food was wasted; which is equivalent to wasting one third of the global food production every year. In 2012, this figure rocketed to a high of 2 billion tons, which is an increase of approximately 30% in food wastage in one year. The waste generated by the developing countries is more at some stage in the production or processing of food, this can be due to lack of efficiency. On the other hand, developed countries generate approx. 100kgs of waste per person, per annum.
Currently, as per the calculation, 550 billion cubic meters of water is also wasted in growing the grains which does not even reach the plates of people.
The University of Arizona came up with a research which highlighted that in America, 40% of the food is wasted which is not even consumed. Also, America produces food which is twice the quantity of the actual demand. “People in America don’t pay attention to their wastage, as the wasted food goes straight to the garbage or disposal. It is unlike newspapers, which are stacked up in the Garage or store rooms.” the report said.
If you think ‘it is not my kitchen’, then today have a look at your garbage or in your refrigerator and even look at your plate after having a full course meal. Subsequently, multiply the amount of the wasted food with 365 and then by 3 (Breakfast, lunch and dinner), the result will actually be an eye opener. However, in the developing nations such as India, most of the food is wasted at some stage of processing, production or transportation. Approximately 20 million tons of food grains are wasted in our country per annum.
Bangalore city hosts 84,960 wedding parties every year, where approximately 943 tons of food is wasted that has an equivalent price of Rs.339 crore. The waste includes maximum of 18% fruits, 12.4% of vegetables, and 6.1% of cereals. I believe the host of such parties should be responsible for not maintaining the food waste to its lowest possible level.
Many of the Indian women provide kneaded wheat to cows every morning; what they actually do is spiritual, but, it is aimed at ensuring food security to animals. If our culture indirectly teaches us how to conserve our eatables, then why do we waste food when attending parties?
Keeping in mind the wastage two 11th grade students, Ramita Kondepudi and Jaewon Saw at the Canadian International School, Bangalore came up with an idea of starting an environmental club named ‘Green Ideas’. One of the many projects of the club was to begin the production of bio gas from the school’s own waste. They visited the nearby corporate office in Whitefield which had a functioning bio gas plant of its own and learnt about the basic requirements to start their own plant at the school campus, very Innovative indeed.
After a detailed research about the food waste on a global level, I can propose that if we form some kind of a group in our societies and try to collect the wasted food and re-process these eatables, the essence of our own hard work can bring smiles to countless faces.
The proper storage facility of wheat grains and other products is necessary. This particular step has to be taken on a large scale, so, I appeal to the state and central governments that they should come up with some major reforms. I also came across the significance of eatables and will personally try not to waste food at religious places, weddings or parties. The authorities should also avoid excessive refining and processing of food.
Dear reader, what will be your plans in order to conserve food?