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Food Waste and Its Effects: Why It is A Global Issue

Food waste is the food which is not used or eaten. Pakistan is one of those countries which suffer from food waste. 

Although Pakistan is a third-world country and it is ironically suffering from hunger and malnutrition as well.  

Food wastage isn’t a problem of one or two countries, it is a global issue. Overall, one-third of the food in the world before coming to our plates gets wasted.

The food wasted globally if preserved, can feed 3 billion people per year.

If a person remains hungry, he has not committed a sin, but if a person wastes the food, he surely is answerable to Allah Almighty.

Food Waste In Pakistan

About 40% of food is wasted and many researches showed that in Pakistan almost 37 million tonnes of food is wasted yearly.

Although Pakistan is facing poverty and the national ratio of poverty is 40 percent.

Still, there are many places where people waste food brutally. Food is wasted by many different ways.  

The total food which is wasted is equal to every citizen of Lahore, Hyderabad and Karachi tossing out entire lunches and dinners every day.

Do not waste food
Do not waste food (Source Pixabay)

Ways The Food Is Wasted

Food is wasted in different ways. The overall amount causes the country to suffer with the food loss and hunger.

1. Food Wastage in Hotels

Most of the food waste occurs in hotels and restaurants in various functions like weddings, dinners, lunches and other parties.

Estimation shows that overall 870 kg of food is wasted in such ceremonies in a hotel in Islamabad, which shows that most of the big hotels have the same percentage of food wastage.

Mostly, the wedding seasons are said to be the months when the food is wasted in access.

Most of the hotels arrange a wedding ceremonies everyday and even twice a day, which makes them to get rid of the food left in the previous function.

The wedding events are usually held at night time and at that time people are intensely hungry and they rush towards the tables and ends up filling their plates more than the capacity.

Nearly more than half of the foods from those plates are left untouched and which is then wasted.

2. Food Wastage While Processing

Processing means the phenomena a food undergoes while being prepared.

Food is wasted during many processes like food is lost during the chains of supply (production, post-harvest handling, agro-processing, distribution and consumption) this occurs every year.

3. Food Waste Because of Weather

Our country, due to its extreme weather conditions, suffers the food loss higher than expected to be computed by agriculture based departments.

We can summarize that food wastage is sum of loss of food and waste of food.

4. Waste Because of Experiencing New Food

Some people want to experience new things every day. They want a new kind of food to taste every time they have a meal.

For this, they taste everything in different places whether expensive or cheap, and in that process leave most of the food wasted because either they do not like the taste or something else catches their attention.

A person will definitely be shocked to see all the immense quantity of food going in trash if he gets a chance to visit kitchens of restaurants.

Effects of Food Waste

1. Hunger and Starvation

The biggest and the most adverse effect of food waste are hunger and starvation.

The food wasted yearly in the whole world causes the increment in the number of all the hungry people by nearly 4 times.

The people who throw the food without a reason never realize that there might be people who haven’t got a slice of bread since days.

Globally, a child deceases every five seconds because of the powerful clutches of starvation.

About 1 out of 8 people have to sleep hungry every day.

Hunger and Starvation
Hunger and Starvation (Source Pixabay)

2. Malnutrition

Generally, malnutrition is the deficiency of nutrients in the body of organisms.

Malnutrition is caused due to the less or no intake of proper diet. Malnutrition can be directly or indirectly related to hunger and starvation.

The wasted food which cannot reach the people cause them to live in hunger and this makes them sick and they get entangled in various nutritional diseases.

Hundreds of people die every day because of this curse.

About 2.5 million kids are struggling with the problem of stunted growth, and more than ten lac children are underweight who are under the age of 5 years.

This will result in our future generations who will not only be stunted mentally and physically, but will also be unskilled and will lag behind the fast moving competing world

People die due unavailability of food
People die due unavailability of food (Source Pixabay)

3. Food Insecurity

Food is the basic need of human beings similarly food security is necessary  for the welfare of a society as well as it is the main source of survival of a society among different nations of the world.

Moreover, food security has become a momentous issue for developing as well as developed nations.

If a country produces ample food resources to feed its population then that country is food secure nationally.

But in the same country, the households are not able to purchase food for their daily intake.

So this shows that food security is different on different levels. Food waste causes the food to unequally divide among the groups which causes few of them to get privileged one and few to stay hungry and unable to reach it.

This problem cannot be solved simply by growing more food.

Growing more will not lead to become more food-secure because the sustainable access will still remain unequal.

Hundreds of thousands lack enough land access or income sources to buy sufficient food

4. Wastage of Water

Food is made from water. It is the basic ingredient of making food is water.

Therefore, if food is wasted by either of the ways above, this will indirectly water too. This can result in the shortage of water too.

Do not waste water that is the basic need of life
Do not waste water that is the basic need of life (Source Pixabay)

5. Destruction of Land

More the food is wasted, more there is a need to grow more.

The need to grow more will increase with the increase in the demand of food.

The continuous growth and harvest will exhaust the land and the essential nutrients of soil will decrease gradually. This will cause the soil degradation as well.

The areas like Tharparkar and many areas of south Punjab only 7% are capable of buying ample food and the remaining percent aren’t.

6. Wastage of Resources

The materials used for the agricultural cultivation involves the use of fertilizers and various pesticide medicines.

Besides this, the transportation used for it also uses fuel and produced emission and the storage involves use of electricity.

Due to the food wastage, all of these resources go to waste as well.

Wastage of resources causes problems for normal life
Wastage of resources causes problems for normal life (Source Pixabay)

7. Increase In the Prices of Food

The more the food is wasted, the more it is needed to produce further.

The increasing demands of food cause the markets to run short of stuff so people black market it and this consequently the prices of goods go up in the sky.

This makes the buyer to return home empty handed without buying. It harms the food businesses badly.

       Smart acts, when multiplied by millions of us, can change the world

Food prices increases impact on human
Food prices increases impact on human (Source Pixabay)


Food waste is becoming a big issue for a nation especially the developing nations who are already facing the problems of poverty, hunger, starvation and malnutrition.

The food wasted in hotels and restaurants, in parties and dinners cause a big amount of food to enter in the trash.

Moreover, the food waste while the food processing is also harmful for a nation.

Therefore these patterns should be changed by bringing change in ourselves.

Written By Wajeeha Rani (BSc. Hons) Human Nutrition and Dietetics, Institute of Food and Nutritional Sciences, PMAS Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi



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