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Problems and Concerns caused by Human Influences on the Environment Index

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Fact File No. 63

Around 88 million tonnes of food are wasted annually in the EU, with associated costs estimated at 143 billion euros
(Ref: European Commission 'Fusions' 2016)

 

Extract from the UK HOUSE OF LORDS, European Union Committee, 2013–14
Counting the Cost of Food Waste: EU Food Waste Prevention

1. It has been estimated that 89 million tonnes of food are wasted each year in the EU, a figure which could rise to approximately 126 million tonnes by 2020 if no action is taken.

2. Food waste has important economic, environmental and social implications. A tonne of food wasted in food manufacturing in the UK is estimated to have a value of at least £950.

3. The global carbon footprint of wasted food has been estimated as more than twice the total greenhouse gas emissions of all road transportation in the US in 2010.

4. With the global population expected to grow rapidly over the next decade, such wastage will become even less sustainable as demand for food rises.

5. Furthermore, food and drink production requires substantial inputs of water, energy and pesticides. It is increasingly recognised that making efficient use of resources must be at the heart of policy making. In addition, others have noted that manufacturers could increase their profits by 12% every year by becoming more resource efficient.

 

 

 

PROBLEMS AND CONCERNS CAUSED BY HUMAN INFLUENCES ON THE ENVIRONMENT

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Famine

There are over 6600 million people in the world and it is estimated that over 1000 million people are suffering from under-nutrition or starvation. The birth rate, however, is not the same throughout the world. It is highest in developing nations, such as India, and lowest in the industrialized nations, such as those in Europe.

The problem is that most of the food is produced by the industrialized nations. Farming in the industrialized nations has become extremely productive. The developing and underdeveloped countries lack the money to improve their agriculture. The food which is grown is often wasted; crops which are harvested are stored in places where rats and insects can get to them.

 

Sahara Desert, Siwa, Egypt ©  Shirley Burchill

 

For many countries the problem of food production is caused by natural factors such as drought. In most under-developed countries, however, farming could be much improved by irrigation and the use of fertilizers. Diseased animals could be helped by drugs and other chemicals. Unfortunately, all of these solutions are expensive and the farmers cannot afford them.

 

There is enough food for everyone but it is not distributed evenly © Shirley Burchill

 

Extract from Rebecca Smithers, consumer affairs correspondent, The Guardian, UK
Thursday 10 January 2013 07.55 GMT

Feeding the 9 Billion: The tragedy of waste

By 2075, the United Nations’ mid-range projection for global population growth predicts that human numbers will peak at about 9.5 billion people. This means that there could be an extra three billion mouths to feed by the end of the century, a period in which substantial changes are anticipated in the wealth, calorific intake and dietary preferences of people in developing countries across the world.

Today, we produce about four billion metric tonnes of food per annum. Yet due to poor practices in harvesting, storage and transportation, as well as market and consumer wastage, it is estimated that 30–50% (or 1.2–2 billion tonnes) of all food produced never reaches a human stomach. Furthermore, this figure does not reflect the fact that large amounts of land, energy, fertilisers and water have also been lost in the production of foodstuffs which simply end up as waste. This level of wastage is a tragedy that cannot continue if we are to succeed in the challenge of sustainably meeting our future food demands.

 

There is enough food for everyone but it is not distributed evenly. There is hope that in the future governments will be able to find ways to help those people in need all over the world.

 

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