Agriculture Discussion


Food Wastage in GCC


One third of all food in the world is wasted. The global volume of food wastage amounts to 1.3 billion tons.  This amount of food would be enough to feed 4 times all the hungry in the world. Almost 1 billion people are hungry worldwide. On the other hand around 1.5 billion people in the whole world are overweight and 400 million are obese.

The direct economic consequences of food wastage (excluding fish and seafood) run to the tune of about 550bn cubic meters of water which is wasted globally in growing crops that never reach the consumer. Carnivorous diets add extra pressure as it takes 20-50 times the amount of water to produce 1 kilogram of meat than 1kg of vegetables; the demand for water in food production could reach 10–13 trillion cubic meters a year by 2050 at a rate of 50 billion annually.

Food wastage's carbon footprint is estimated at 3.3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent of GHG (Green House Gas) released into the atmosphere per year.            Similarly, 1.4 billion hectares of land - 28 percent of the world's agricultural area - is used annually to produce food that is lost or wasted. A low percentage of all food wastage is composted: much of it ends up in landfills, and represents a large part of municipal solid waste. Methane emissions from landfills represent one of the largest sources of GHG emissions from the waste sector. Food waste contains high amount of carbon which on degradation produce methane gas. Methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas and its global warming potential is 20 times more than carbon dioxide. Methane gas is also responsible for spontaneous fires in landfills.

Decomposition of food waste in non-sanitary landfills also leads to breeding of pathogens, vermin and malodorous compounds which are detrimental to human health, besides causing huge economic losses and a lot of needless hunger worldwide.

The six-member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) generate over 150 million tons of municipal waste every year, standing out among the world's top generators of food waste, according to a new report.

Supreme Council for Environment waste disposal unit head Mr. Rehan Ahmed, was quoted as saying that up to 600 tons of food is being thrown away every day during Ramadan in Bahrain in 2015. Ahmed said that when it wasn’t Ramadan an estimated 400 tons of organic food waste was generated on a daily basis. Normally, it is estimated that around 0.3 kg of food per person per day is wasted, accounting for around 12 per cent of the total food being bought. Wasted food in Bahrain produced the equivalent of 2,700 tons of greenhouse gases every day.

"High income groups usually generate more food waste per capita, primarily due to the mindset that there always needs to be enough to eat at Iftar, even if most of the food ends up in the landfill. Bahrain annual waste dumping (2017 data) is almost 1.45 million tones or 3,969 tones every day. Domestic waste makes up 1,282 tons of the daily total followed by agricultural waste 394 tones and construction waste 333 tones.

STOP food wastage now as “One person in the world dies every three seconds because of hunger,”

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