UNEP says hunger elimination target in peril amid surging food waste

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NAIROBI, March 5 (Xinhua) -- The quest to eradicate extreme hunger and malnutrition globally is in peril as 931 million tons, or 17 percent, of food available to consumers go to waste, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) has said in a new report.

The Food Waste Index Report, compiled by the UNEP and British charity WRAP, was released in Nairobi on Thursday.

"Reducing food waste would cut greenhouse gas emissions, slow the destruction of nature through land conversion and pollution, enhance the availability of food, and thus reduce hunger and save money at a time of global recession," said UNEP executive director Inger Andersen.

Governments, industry and citizens should join forces to curb waste and strengthen action on climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, she said.

The UN Food Systems Summit, scheduled for September, offers an opportunity for governments, businesses and the civil society to launch bold actions and contain the menace of food waste, Andersen said.

According to the lastest Food Waste Index report, households, retail chains and the hospitality industry accounted for nearly 1 billion tons of food waste that was reported in 2019.

Households accounted for 11 percent of discarded food, followed by hotels, at 5 percent, and retail outlets, at 2 percent, the report said.

On a global per capita level, 121 kg of consumer-level food is wasted annually, with 74 kg occurring at the household level, it said.

Marcus Gover, CEO of WRAP, said cutting food waste at producer, retail and consumer levels require policy shift, investments, technology adoption and public awareness. Enditem

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