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Pattaya Daily News

26 July 2013 :: 17:07:31 pm 70939

Humans Waste Nearly Half Of The World’s Food

Between 30 to 50 percent of the 4 billion tons of food produced worldwide ends up being wasted and dumped, according to a study by the Institute of Mechanical Engineering in England.
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Over half of the purchased food in Europe and the U.S. was eventually discarded as waste, researchers found. Major causes of spoiled or rotten food include inefficient storage or stockpiling, as well as uncoordinated purchasing practices.

Dr. Tim Fox, the Head of Energy and Environment department in the Academy of Mechanical Engineering, said the amount of food wasted around the world was especially damaging because it squanders the world’s finite resources. The wasted food can be used to feed the world’s growing population, including people who are starving, he said.

Such behavior by developed nations is causing the loss of the land and water resources, as well as the energy used in the production and distribution of food. The reasons for this situation stems from inefficient engineering and agriculture processes, along with inadequate transportation of food and the public facilities used for storage during the distribution process, he said.

Ultimately, the supermarkets demand a product that looks beautiful to consumers. The study found that in England, more than 30 percent of vegetables were not bought by British consumers because the products did not look cosmetically appealing.

A report by the conservation organization, “Global Food: Waste Not, Want Not,” found that vast quantities of water are being used to cultivate crops, more than 550,000 million cubic meters of water. But when crops are wasted by not being consumed, the water has been wasted also.

By the year 2050, the worldwide demand for water for agriculture may reach 10 to13 billion cubic meters per year, due to the continual growth of the world’s population. The United Nations predicted that the world’s population will increase by 3 billion more people by the year 2075, when a peak of 9.5 billion people will be living on the planet.

The current situation of water, energy, and land resources is under continual pressure from growing human needs. Mechanical engineering can play a key role in preventing the loss of food, by helping to improve the efficiency of food production as well as crop transporting and storage, Dr. Fox said.

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