- It is estimated that four million people in the UK cannot afford a healthy diet, with one in seven people over the age of 65 at serious risk of malnourishment.
Seventeen million tonnes of surplus food is dumped on landfills every year.
Of 17 million tonnes of waste food, four million tonnes is edible.
The cost of this waste if around Â£18 billion annually.
- According to a 1997 study by US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) entitled “Estimating and Addressing America’s Food Losses”, about 96 billion pounds of food, or more than a quarter of the 356 billion pounds of edible food available for human consumption in the United States, was lost to human use by food retailers, consumers, and foodservice establishments in 1995.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables, fluid milk, grain products, and sweeteners (mostly sugar and high-fructose corn syrup) accounted for two-thirds of the losses. 16 billion pounds of milk and 14 billion pounds of grain products are also included in this loss.
- Food that could have gone to millions
According to the US Department of Agriculture, up to one-fifth of America’s food goes to waste each year, with an estimated 130 pounds of food per person ending up in landfills. The annual value of this lost food is estimated at around $31 billion But the real story is that roughly 49 million people could have been fed by those lost resources.
- “As the millennium draws to a close, memories of the appalling man-made famine in southern Sudan last year are hard to erase. Even as this issue of Field Exchange goes to press, thousands of Angolans teeter on the edge of starvation; pawns in a long and brutal civil war over which they have little control. Famines have occurred with monotonous frequency throughout the 20th century despite enormous technological, economic and social advances – the Ukraine famine in the 1930s, the Bengal and Dutch famines of the 1940s, the great China famine of the 1950s, Biafra in the late 1960s, famines in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan in the 1970s-90s. There are many others, though perhaps lesser known. What most of these famines have in common is a shared cause; they were all created by man. Some of the man-made famines of this century are described below. The accounts are stark, harrowing and shameful. Yet their causes and impact bear striking similarities to the famines of today.” Fiona Watson
Institute of Child Health
- More than 11 million boys and girls under five years of age die every year in the Third World from diseases that are largely preventable. That means more than 30,000 every day, 21 every minute, and almost a thousand since this rally began, about 45 minutes ago.
- “By the end of 1998, the Third World’s external debt amounted to 2.4 trillion dollars, that is, four times the total in 1982, only 18 years ago.”
- “Between 1982 and 1998, these countries paid over 3.4 trillion dollars for debt servicing; in other words, almost a trillion dollars more than the current debt. Far from decreasing, the debt grew by 45% in those 16 years.”
- “Life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa is barely 48 years. That is 30 years less than in the developed countries.
The Richest 16% of the World Uses 80% of Earth’s Natural Resources
That’s the estimated toll the wealthiest populations on the globe — the United States, Europe and Japan — are taking from the earth’s natural bounty to sustain their way of life. In the U.S. alone, says Emily Matthews of the World Resources Institute, every man, woman and child is responsible for the consumption of about 25 tons of raw materials each year.
- How many people go to bed hungry? “More than 820 million people in the world suffer from hunger; and 790 million of them live in the Third World.”
More than 800 million people still suffer from hunger or diseases associated with undernourishment, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said in its annual report.