Say, if you had 750 billion dollars, would you dump them in the rubbish-bin? Or say, almost a billion and a half tons of food, in the rubbish bin? If you answered the classic and dismissive “I wouldn’t even dream of doing it” know that you are already doing so. And while you are moved seeing on some social networks, the picture of a child, who wears the signs of malnutrition, you are virtually throwing pasta away every day. The poor, don’t even get to see crumbs, not even if they had to search for them with a magnifying glass.
One of the Fao surveys entitled “report on the environmental consequences of wasted food”, presented by the General-Directorl Jose Graziano da Silva has removed the veil on one of the greatest hypocrisies of our times. The false charity mixed with indifference, the difficulty – or rather the little desire – to change our habits in order to restore hope to those who are starving. Expo 2015 in this makes no difference: many words, even subscribed documents, but which need to be implemented by governments to become effective. But things don’t work like this. Quite clearly, the glitz, the possibility for large multinationals in an occult manner to make profit; which is the most distant from the needs of the lowliest on earth.
According to Fao, the food thrown away ransomly, in several phases from the farm to the table, has an economic cost estimated at 750 billion Dollars, equal to 565 billion Dollars. The total volume of food wasted amounts to 1.3 billion tons. Throwing food not only has financial aspects, but also environmental ones. To produce foodstuffs, destined then to end up in the garbage, 3.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide is produced, more than double the Co2 emissions caused by road transport in the United States.
To suffer negative effects of food waste are also the soil, water and biodiversity. Intensive agriculture, for example, decreases the fertility of soils and requires, in the long run, the implementation of chemical fertilisers, which cause pollution, and reduce the extent of arable land. Each year, in addition, 1.4 million hectares of land are used to produce crops that will never cease on our tables: it is an area equal to the entire surface area of Russia and 28% of world agricultural soil.
The same goes for water, 250 cubic kilometres are wasted per year, enough to fill the entire Lake of Geneva. As if that weren’t enough, 9.7million hectares of forest are destroyed each year which produce food that largely will be wasted: it is given that the affects are so devastating on the biodiversity of our planet. Even fish are not exempt from waste. Total madness: 70% of the specimens fished using trawlers are then thrown back into the sea; dead though.
The study ‘Global Food Losses and Food Waste’ (Food Waste and Losses worldwide), focuses on Italy: it is estimated that every year, 5 million tons of food products end up in the garbage. Put in terms of value, it means around 8 billion Euros (equal to half a point of GDP).
Of course we must distinguish between the intent of our rulers from the blame-to be placed on our citizens too. The most frequent causes are identified as bad habits of people who do not keep the products properly. But even the expiry dates printed on foods, which means that the retailer or the consumer wintends getting rid of them when the product has exceeded the consumption date (often just “preferable by”). Or promotions, that push consumers to buy more food than deemed necessary.
Having summed up the total quantity wasted, the amount of food that during the various stages of production to our tables, are as according to FAO estimates in percentages and in millions of tons: 510 million tons are lost during the agricultural production stage, 355 million immediately after harvesting, 180 million tons in the transformation industry, 200 million during deployment , 345 million consumers spurned them, at home and in restaurants. A slap in the face to human intelligence, even before solidarity. These estimates are a shame.
Translation provided by Marina Stronati