By Vivian Emoni
A climate change expert, David Terungwa, has urged Nigerians to avoid food wastes during the Yuletide, as refuse generated from such can increase global warming and climate change.
Terungwa, Team Lead, Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation (GIFSEP), gave the warning while addressing newsmen on the impacts of climate change in the environment, in Abuja on Wednesday.
Terungwa, who is also and the Africa Coordinator, Citizens Climate International, said that food wastes ending up in landfills produced a larger amount of methane greenhouse gas than even carbon dioxide (CO2).
According to him, excess amount of greenhouse gases, such as methane, CO2 and chlorofluorocarbons absorbs infrared radiation and heat up the earth’s atmosphere, thus causing global warming and climate change.
He said that food wastes represented a waste of fresh water and groundwater resources, with agriculture accounting for 70 per cent of the water used across the world.
Terungwa further stated that in addition to money being wasted, discarded food had negative impacts on the environment, as it contributed to global warming.
He added: “Consider the energy and natural resources expended in processing, transporting, storing and cooking of food.”
The expert said that packaging of many food products were excessive, adding that there was a growing awareness that such packaging was not environmental-friendly and could land-up in landfills.
“The rate of food wastes during festivities is very alarming. For instance, many of the food prepared during the yuletide will never be eaten.
“Many of us don’t give a thought to the quantity of food we waste daily, weekly, monthly and yearly, with increased tons of food wasted during festivities, including Christmas and New Year.
“Food waste in this context refers to food left over; too much food prepared and not used, all generally land in dumpsites.
“Food wastage is a bad attitude, particularly in a nation where we have children who spend days with empty stomach. Our leftovers could be someone’s first meal.
“For every food you waste and throw away, there is a stomach that is hungry and going to bed without food,’’ he said.
Terungwa quoted the United Nations as estimating that one in every three people in the world does not have access to sufficient food to lead a healthy life.
According to him, in Nigeria, it is no longer news that the prices of food have skyrocketed majorly due to high inflation, effects of climate change, COVID-19 pandemic and widespread insecurity.
“Even with the situation, 40 per cent of food produced in Nigeria goes to waste, mostly during the production-to-processing stage of the food supply chain,” he said.
Terungwa said that mostly, lack of planning by or for home cooks often led to waste of food.
According to him, some tips that can help waste less food, such as creating menus with existing food items and preparing less food, should be applied to reduce food wastage.
“Check the stockpiled ingredients you have, whether tinned, frozen or fresh. Use them before purchasing more so that they don’t expire or get spoilt.
“Reducing consumption is better than re-using, while reusing is better than recycling or composting. Also, reducing, re-using, recycling and composting are better than disposing food wastes.
“Do not throw away good food. Rather, feed someone else. You will feel great joy when you share with others.
“Above all, show humanity; share with those who do not have and make this year’s Christmas and New Year celebrations food waste-free,’’ he said. (NAN)