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In an Unsolvable Dilemma, 800 Million People Are Starving, but 3 Billion People’s Food Is Wasted

Updated on July 19, 2020
Anyan profile image

I am a Chinese girl, I like to share with you people and things about China, welcome to comment, thank you for reading

Lack of money and lack of opportunities may be common problems in most of our lives. Although life is sad, at least there is no need to worry about food.

The importance of food may have been ignored by many modern people. The modern living environment is becoming more and more convenient, comfortable, and high-tech, allowing us to live in an age with no need to worry about food and clothing.

The days of starvation seem to be far away from us.

But in fact, the food security problem in this world is more serious than we thought...

Recently, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (UNs Food and Agricultural Organization) released a report stating that nearly 821 million people in the world are undernourished.


In the United States, nearly 12% of households are assessed as being food insecure. This involves 35 million people, of which about 6.5 million children do not have enough food.

You know, the United States is one of the world's largest food exporters, but its citizens are suffering from hunger.

At the same time, there are 4 million people affected by hunger in the UK and 43 million in Europe.

The hunger situation in the world is shocking, but the same dazzling thing is that crazy food waste!

According to statistics, 1.3 billion tons of food are discarded every year in the world!

This is 1/3 of the global annual food production!

Developed countries waste 200 million tons of food every year, which is the net total output of food in sub-Saharan African countries!

By analogy, in every three meals, one meal is completely wasted.

EU countries discard 90 million tons of food every year, including 3 million tons of bread,

Bread is a food that doesn’t take up the scale. This figure is scary.

What is unacceptable is that

This wasted food can feed a full 3 billion people!

There is now more than 3 times the number of hungry people!

The 40 million tons of food wasted every year by American households, retailers, and food-related units alone are enough for the 1 billion hungry people on the planet!

According to statistics, the bread and cereals discarded by British households can free more than 30 million people on the planet from malnutrition.

Ironically, such serious food waste is equivalent to that, 30% of all agricultural land in the world, 3.5 billion acres, is wasted!

If the land that was wasted food is used to plant trees, theoretically this result is enough to offset all the carbon emissions produced by fossil fuels!

And at the same time, the rain forest is still being cut down and requisitioned for new agricultural land!

(Huge food dump in the Western world)

Among the food waste in the world, the amount of household food waste is staggering.

The waste of food ingredients caused by improper preservation and failure to eat in time accounts for 2/3 of all waste in the family.

Among them, excessive stockpiling is the typical reason.

For example, at the beginning of the new crown this year, the strong physical and mental needs of the people in developed countries triggered a surge in supermarkets. The crowds lined up for several kilometers to stock up on the food rations at home.

But within a few days, the trash cans in front of these people's houses were full of food that they could not eat, bread, fruits, vegetables...

It still seems to be good food, because a large number of products expired by these people irrationally hoarding goods, and they are eventually stuffed into the trash can as waste products.

The negative effects of food waste don’t stop there. This incident has also caused climate warming. The food supply chain generates 3.3 billion tons of carbon every year.

This is more than the annual carbon emissions of 99% of the countries in the world... Food waste generates a total of 6% of the world's greenhouse gases.

Rich countries often have one-tenth of their carbon emissions from growing these foods that will eventually be wasted.

Considering that the wasted food also goes through the food industry standard processing steps of production, processing, packaging, and transportation before it is wasted, the cost of a large amount of energy consumption has to be considered.

Also, rotten vegetables in the ground will produce super-strong greenhouse gas methane (21 times stronger than carbon dioxide in heating).

A quarter of the methane in the United States is produced by the rot of vegetables in the ground...

Climate warming has further increased famine in arid regions around the world, and a vicious circle was born...

In sub-Saharan Niger, reporters went to children's rescue camps, villages, and schools to investigate the hunger situation here.

In the first children's rescue camp, one by one mother held their children, large and small, with despair in their eyes.

This is a rescue station to help malnourished children in the village. Every child who comes will be checked by the staff to determine the degree of malnutrition.

And this inspection process is shockingly primitive,

The "high-tech" equipment of weight and height scale does not exist. Instead, Dyer is a basin and aboard——

The basin is used to weigh the child, and the purpose of the board is to let the child lie down and be caught by the measuring tool.

These two simple tools are completely sufficient for this purpose-

No child's height or weight will exceed their measurement range...

In this tent, many children are so skinny that they don't look angry.

The female reporter found a child with very mature eyes, and upon questioning, she was shocked to learn that the child was 1 year old!

Can't speak, can't stand on their own, only 1 year old, but already fully understand the difficulties of life,

It hurts...

The doctor is busy but has not done any treatment for these children who are in urgent need of help.

Finally, a doctor walked up to the boy, measured his arm circumference, and assessed him as "severely malnourished."

This also means that this severely retarded child can go to another tent-a tent where food is distributed as medicine.

Here, he can get the "effective treatment" of food.

Food is used as a treatment "medicine", this is not a joke...

In this second tent, the staff brought bags of things in white plastic packaging, and the parents holding their children around stretched out their hands to quietly wait for the doctor’s distribution.

The same thing as these white plastic bag drinks is nutritious milk with nuts and vitamins added to quickly restore the children's desperate body elements.

These foods that are most common to us, in these tents, are scarce life-saving resources.

And it can only be given to those who need it most...

The impact of undernutrition on children is far more simple than it seems on the surface. Failure to consume adequate food during childhood will lead to insufficient brain development, insufficient bone growth, and damage to the heart, liver, and kidney, and immune system.

Therefore, in their entire life, their intelligence will be lower than other ordinary people, shorter, more likely to suddenly get sick, and more likely to develop chronic diseases such as the heart...

This is another version of "losing at the starting line".

In another scene, in the local school, what the "healthy" children ate was equally shocking.

The little girls in the class came over with two steaming iron basins.

Inside, it's white porridge...

The suffering in these countries is not entirely the problem of the food itself.

Historians say that in the 100 years before the 1980s, 1 million people died of famine every year. Since then, the death rate has dropped to 5-10%. There are no completely hungry countries.

Increasing global food production, better infrastructure, and humanitarian aid systems have eliminated famine in recent decades.

The reason why famine has come back as a threat is often due to war and a bad political situation.

For example, the food crisis in countries such as Yemen and Somalia was caused by the melee of domestic warlords, and it was a completely man-made disaster.

Born in this land, these people at the bottom were deprived of the right to eat from the beginning, and their right to life was also at stake...

Unlike natural disasters that we think, food crises are more likely to be man-made disasters and political tragedies.

In Venezuela, which is rich in oil reserves, the political crisis caused by rapidly increasing inflation has triggered shortages of food and medicine, forcing one family after another to live on carrion and causing millions to leave the country.

In Venezuela, which was rich in the past, people are now in a desperate situation where they have money but cannot buy food.

People line up for several hours to buy 1 liter of cooking oil and 1 kg of flour. In many cases, purchases are restricted and may not be available.

However, the wealthy class in this country is still holding grandiose and extravagant parties, enjoying a rich and lucrative life.

The comparison between the two is also very dazzling...

We may no longer need to worry about food,

But always keep in mind that food is not picked up randomly.

Just as our happy life is won by our predecessors, it is not taken for granted.

Cherish every bite of our meal,

Because in this world, hunger is still everywhere...

Comments

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    • Anyan profile imageAUTHOR

      Chinese girl 

      12 months ago from China

      Thank you for your comment. I think what you said is reasonable. Maybe I am a bit general. Social problems are never caused by any simple factors, but by multiple reasons.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      12 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      "The 40 million tons of food wasted every year by American households, retailers, and food-related units alone are enough for the 1 billion hungry people on the planet!" - There's often a problem with storage, transport/delivery and logistics.

      This pandemic clearly showed how we have a lot of food going bad, milk being dumped in sewers, at the same time as we have people going hungry. It's a matter of how we set-up our systems of food storage and delivery/transport.

      "The reason why famine has come back as a threat is often due to war and a bad political situation." - There are natural disasters too which create famine. There have been flooding recently in Bangladesh, Nepal and China as well. Also Oceans rising and creeping in-land, are affecting agricultural fields due to saltiness of the water (Mekong Delta, Vietnam).

      Climate Change will only worsen the problem of food security. We need to change our ways.

      Thanks for the article. It is an important issue to discuss. All the best!

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