Faced with so much poverty, why are there people wasting so much food?

Faced with so much poverty, why are there people wasting so much food?
Fecha de publicación: 
16 March 2021
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The impact of coronavirus, which started in 2020 and may be compared to a world war III if we consider its effects, goes beyond the current sanitary crisis caused by Covid-19, resulting in millions of people infected and dead. The poverty rate, as that of extreme poverty, shed lights on a dark panorama, which gets worse if we think about the quantity of food that is wasted, as if we could spare it.

According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the world reached to 209 million poor people in 2019. The panorama is now even more heartbreaking. The economic recession, after so much fight against Covid-19 in 2020, added 22 million poor people more than 2019. But, are some people under the influence of indifference? 

I could not tell if this is indifference or selfishness. Food waste is on the rise as the worst version of the human race. At least in 2019, according to UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), about 931 million tons of food were wasted by retail consumers, restaurants, equal to 17% of the edible food in the world.

Plain y simple, how many malnourished children or women could be fed with these nearly 931 million tons of food pointed out by UNEP? Those 931 million tons are equal to “23 million 40-tons trucks fully loaded with food, which can travel the world around seven times.” Can we graphically picture how much food is it, so we can undertake the longest trip and then multiplied it by seven?

In this unfair reality with no lights nor colors, there are 78 million people living in extreme poverty, 8 of which were added in just one year, 2020, the year of Covid-19. Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the most affected regions regarding infected and dead people due to SARS-CoV-2 where, as a vicious circle, the bad shape of health care has a direct impact on poverty.

Besides, it is beyond calculation the damage on children, teenagers, and young people, referring to classes disruption, which may result in a rise in the dropout rates of some people out of necessity. On the other hand, the shutdown of several and different sectors of the economy skyrocketed unemployment, which puts in jeopardy the family budget.

Alicia Bárcena, CEO of ECLAC, highlighted that “the pandemic has demonstrated and exacerbated major structural gaps in the region and, at present, people are living under a huge uncertainty, where there is no clue on how we may survive this crisis. Therefore, it is paramount to rebuild, with equity and sustainability, a truly welfare state, a long overdue task in the region.”

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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