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Food wastage in developed countries inexcusable: India

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United Nations: In a world grappling with the hunger of millions, it was “inexcusable” that consumers in developed countries waste as much food as all of Sub-Saharan Africa produces every year, India said here on Monday.

Speaking at a session of a General Assembly committee dealing with economic matters, Supriya Sule said over 100 kg of food is wasted every year for each person in the developed countries.

“It is indeed a travesty that the world today produces enough food to feed the global population and yet millions of poor go hungry every day,” she said citing Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) figures.

“This happens because over one-third of all food produced — as much as 1.3 billion tonnes — is wasted every year.”

Sule blamed “unsustainable and wasteful consumption patterns” for the “colossal wastage” that is “inexcusable”.

“It is important to focus greater efforts at awareness creation and attitudinal change in the developed world which will enable us to save huge amounts of food,” she added at the discussion on “Agriculture Development, Food Security and Nutrition”.

Sule, a Nationalist Congress Party member of the Lok Sabha representing Barmati in Maharashtra, is currently among parliamentarians in India’s UN delegation.

Turning to the problem in developing countries, she said there was an “unacceptably high level of post-harvest losses”.

This was due to poor infrastructure and lack of advanced technologies for production, processing and transportation, she said.

“This problem needs to be addressed by means of enhanced investments in rural infrastructure and transportation and storage facilities as well as better access to and deployment of technologies,” Sule said.

Sule, whose Barmati constituency is a major farming area, paid tributes to farmers.

“It is a matter of pride for us that Indian agriculture has achieved self-sufficiency,” she said.

“Today it is not only able to meet the needs of India’s population but is also playing a major role in agricultural trade.”

Referring to the UN’s declaration of 2015 as the International Year of Soils, she said: “In India, a new ambitious scheme has been launched to provide Soil Health Cards to all farmers in the country in a time-bound manner.”

Under the programme launched in February, more than 140 million farms will have their soils tested and issued Soil Health cards detailing the fertiliser and nutrient requirements for productivity and preservation.

More directly for combating hunger and malnutrition, Sule said the National Food Security Act, which seeks to ensure access to quality food at affordable prices, “has already started showing positive results in combating hunger and malnutrition”.

(IANS)

 

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Can Pain Make You Feel Better ? Understanding Deliberate Self Harm Practices Among Adolescents

What do children and young adults do when the level of emotional pressure becomes increasingly high? According to studies, an increasing number of adolescents indulge in self harm to relieve stress.

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self harm
Societal pressure and lack of support often forces young adults to indulge in impulsive self-harm mechanisms like drug overdose and self cutting. Pixabay

– by Dr. Rajeev Nagpal, Australia

  • Deliberate self harm (DSH), also known as self injury is the act of intentionally inflicting damage to the body
  • It has become a common practice among children and teenagers across the globe
  • DSH among teenagers can be attributed to lifestyle and technology changes, peer pressure and lack of support

Australia, September 1, 2017: Dr. Rajeev Nagpal expresses his opinion on the dangerous practice of self-harm increasingly affecting children and young adults across the world.

What is Deliberate Self-Harm (DSH)?

Self-harm is described as an expression of situational crisis or personal distress which leads to harming oneself. NICE clinical guidelines from the UK have defined it as self-poisoning or injury, irrespective of the apparent purpose of the act.

Deliberate Self Harm (DSH) is not a clinical condition but a response to a stressful situation in the life of a young child or adolescent. It can occur after long term stress like abuse or domestic violence or after an acute single event like the loss of a near one or failure in examinations. It is primarily a coping mechanism in which they try to release tension by trying to self-harm.

Self harm
Dr. Nagpal views self-harm not as a clinical condition, but as a coping mechanism adopted by children and young adults to vent their tension.

Already there are reports of Indian children losing their life after playing games like the blue whale challenge on the internet. It is time for the general population, including the parents of young children to understand the issues of this very complex condition called deliberate self-harm.

Public Health Issue

In recent years DSH has become a major public health issue in most developed countries. However, although less reported, this problem is a major under-recognized epidemic in low and middle –income countries like India, Nepal.

According to a retrospective study conducted at the Emergency department of CMC, Vellore, India from Jan 2011 to Dec 2013, among the total 1228 patients who were admitted, consumption of pesticides was the most common cause of DSH in men. Consumption of plant poisoning and drug overdose was more common in women.The study involved all population, therefore, the actual number of pediatric population was difficult to ascertain.

Other international studies have also revealed that adolescents, who experienced anxiety or low mood, were six times more at risk of self-harm in young adulthood compared to those without depression or anxiety disorders.

Approximately a million lives are lost to suicide annually, worldwide.

Deliberate self-harm (DSH) is the single most important risk factor for suicide and is associated with huge health service resource utilization. Deliberate self-poisoning in children continues to remain a significant part of the workload of emergency departments, especially in adolescents, even though fewer children need admission now as compared with earlier decades.

Presentation of DSH

Many young adults find it difficult to express their feelings. Some examples of self-harm behavior are:

  • Self-cutting or scratching
  • Burning or scalding
  • Poisoning with drugs like paracetamol, anti-depressants
  • Swallowing objects

Relatively little information is available about the characteristics and long-term outcome of children and adolescents aged under 15 years who present to general hospitals because of deliberate self-harm (DSH).

Depressive disorders in pediatrics fall in ranges from mood changes in response to persistent mood change accompanied by suicidal ideation or intent.

The difficulties faced by adolescents are getting more complex with lifestyle and technology changes globally. Peer pressure along with family expectations can aggravate this sense of worthlessness.

Deliberate self harm
Feelings of helplessness, stemming from a variety of social and cultural factors can force an adolescent to indulge in self-harm. Pixabay

Lack of support networks can lead them to opt for impulsive self-harm mechanisms like poisoning. Intentional overdose to commonly implicated drugs like Paracetamol in the UK, or organo- phosphorous compounds in Nepal and is a cause of grave concern.

How to Deal with this Issue

As young children are unable to deal very well with emotional stresses, they will need a supportive team to help them in understanding their feelings and the possible outcomes from them.

This requires a multidisciplinary team approach.

  • Understanding the issues by holding awareness sessions of this condition in schools and other organizations
  • Creating referral pathways that all school staff are aware of
  • Confidential telephone lines /NGOs dealing with mental health of adolescent’s
  • Government policies and procedures for treatment of acute cases in Accident and Emergency departments
  • Provision of developing CAMHS(Child and adolescent mental health services ) like services at state level in Indian government hospitals.
  • Increased research particularly in pediatrics and adolescent’s needs to be conducted at state and national level.

ALSO READ Suicide is Preventable: Alarming Effects of Self-harm on Families, Communities, Societies

Conclusion

DSH is an under-recognized, major public health problem in low and middle-income countries. National level medical protocols and increasing the awareness amongst the public and agencies dealing with such conditions can be the first step in saving millions of lives from the untimely death of the most vulnerable yet productive younger sections of the society.

Dr. Rajeev Nagpal  is a Pediatrician and MHID (Masters OF Health and International Development-Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia) 

 


 

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Americans Are Believed To Throw Away One-Third of The Available Food. How Then Are They Dealing With It? Read On To Know What Is Happening at The Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant

If an increasing number of people subscribe to the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle way of life, a lot of the world's problem of waste generation will be solved. Read in to know what America is already doing!

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  • One-third of the world’s food is lost or wasted
  • Treatment plants are now using food waste to convert energy
  • The move also cuts on emission of harmful gasses into the atmosphere

Brooklyn, August 7, 2017 : Americans are believed to throw away about one-third of the available food. However, what we see as trash is also seen as a business opportunity by a few. A facility known as the New Town Creek waste Water Treatment plant is using wasted food from Brooklyn and turning it into electricity, completely justifying the concept of the 3-C’s we have all studied about in school.

If an increasing number of people around the world subscribe to the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle way of life, a lot of the world’s problem of waste generation will be addressed, and eventually solved.

But presently, the concept seems too vague and utopian. So what are we doing right about NOW?

Mechanisms have been developed to convert all the waste produced into clean energy and some other usable product. Now if you ask me how that is contributing to a better society, I’d like to tell you that heaps and mountain-full of landfills are slowly becoming a thing of the past. And in the longer run, the practice is also going to reduce enormous amounts of greenhouse gas emission.

For a number of years now, New York’s fourteen waste-water treatment plants have been processing the city’s raw sewage into clean water, fertilizers and methane, which forms the main component of natural gas. Eventually, New York authorities realized that huge amounts of other organic wastes sent to landfills can also be converted to energy.

Pam Elarado of the New York Bureau of Waste Water Treatment told VOA news that the food waste is similar to the sewage generated at a waste-water treatment plant.

For the same purpose, in the eight egg-shaped digesters at the New Town Creek Waste Water Treatment plant, the bacteria slowly break down the so called bio-slurry into a more stable material, useful in the gas.

Newtown Creek Waste Water plant, operational since 2010, is the largest sewage treatment facility operated by the New York City Department of environmental protection.

The plant is instilled with digester eggs that convert food waste into methane gas.
The Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, as seen from atop the Pulaski Bridge, Brooklyn. Wikimedia

The plant overlooks conversion of organic waste from kitchens, homes, hotels, and food-factories into cleaner energy and compost.

Frank Lonear told VOA news that the tank currently is capable of holding about three million gallons of a combination of bio-sewage which comes from waste-water and also food waste. “It sits here on an average of about 30 days for the bacteria to break it down to create methane gas”, he said.

The plant currently is capable of processing about 60 tonnes of food waste daily but plans to increase the capacity to 250 tonnes. The daily production of methane is about 85,000 cubic meters which needs additional treatment to be turned into natural gas.

If all the food waste being processed at the plant was instead just dumped at a landfill, it still would have provided methane in the process of rotting and decomposition. However in such a condition, all the released gas would have sparked directly into the atmosphere thus, contributing to climate change. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, after all

In such a scenario, this practice of anaerobic conversion is diverting food waste from landfills, cutting down on harmful emissions and also creating a few jobs.

According to reports, New York embraced the practice of food-waste conversion very quickly. Sarah Schiwal, a resident of Brooklyn swears by the practice and said, “It is so simple and it cuts down on our trash. I can’t understand by anybody wouldn’t want it”, as told to VOA news.

ALSO READ: Wasting Food is like being “Carbon Criminal,” Campaigns to be Initiated soon against it, says Environment Minister of India

If you’re wondering that the plant contributes only scientifically to the city, then you’re mistaken. The egg shaped digesters are illuminated at night time and provide a rather aesthetic and pleasing cityscape along the Brooklyn waterfront.

Newtown creek wastewater digestive plant in among the largest such plants in New York.
Anaerobic conversion takes place in huge egg-shaped digesters that are also illuminated at night to beautify the surrounding areas (representational image). Pixabay

While it cannot be denied that these plants are solving a great deal of the problem, the fact remains that the root cause of the problem is still not being addressed. Consumers continue to throw away a staggering amount of food, which needs to be taken into account and kept under check.

At present, wastage from food makes up the largest share of the constitution of landfills and Americans are believed to throw away about one-third of the available food. While on one hand it is important to devise ways to prevent food waste, it is also important to keep the food from being wasted. Keeping the waste out of landfills and producing clean energy in its place can go a long way for mankind to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.


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How Festival Trash is affecting Cities in India? Here is what Environmentalists have to say!

During Durga Puja and Ganesh Chaturthi, around 100,000 idols are immersed in the water bodies resulting in the release of substances like Plaster of Paris (PoP), lead, etc

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Lake polluted after Ganesh Chaturthi. Wikimedia Commons

October 07, 2016: Indian festivals have always been an integral part of our culture. They help us stay connected to our tradition. Every year, festivals like Diwali, Holi, etc. are celebrated with sumptuousness. People spend thousands of rupees on crackers, colours and lights to celebrate the festival of spreading light and leaving the dark behind but what they also do is, leave behind is a massive pile of garbage!

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According to a report by Delhi Government, levels of pollutants like Sulphur dioxide (SO2) and Nitrogen dioxide(NO2) are rising at an alarming rate. Last year, Vikrant Tongad, an environmentalist working with the Delhi-based Social Action for Forest and Environment told IANS, “the rise in pollution levels after Diwali has been going up three-to-four times the normal levels. But it’s alarming to see the rise even before Diwali.”

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After Diwali, the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), an agency under Ministry of Earth Sciences, declared the air quality in the capital “severe”, a category used to describe the highest level of pollution. The next day is not any better. The remains of all the crackers are strewn across the parks and streets.

The story is same during other festivals as well. The colours used to play Holi are made from substances like acids, mica, glass powder and alkalis which are responsible for skin complications and allergies. These chemicals get absorbed into the soil. Also, water containing these chemicals cannot be treated in a conventional way.

During Durga Puja and Ganesh Chaturthi, around 100,000 idols are immersed in the water bodies resulting in the release of substances like Plaster of Paris (PoP), lead, etc. Also, people leave behind flowers, food, etc. on the immersing site. The TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) in increased by 100%and the heavy metal content is increased by 200 to 300%.

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During Eid, many people perform the sacrifice ritual at communal places which are left unclean. Also, the increase in affordability has increased the amount of food wasted during these festivals.

Through the past decade, government and NGO’s have been trying to raise awareness among people through campaigns and advertisements but every year the level of pollution during these festivals breaks the previous records. It seems like Festival and trash have become synonymous.

Everyone knows the solution but for some reason refuse to act upon them. Well, if this continues, soon there will be a time where we will not be able to move out of their houses without wearing a pollution mask.

 by Diksha Arya of NewsGram. Twitter: @diksha_arya53

2 responses to “How Festival Trash is affecting Cities in India? Here is what Environmentalists have to say!”

  1. No religion wants to live in a pollution. People where they are focusing on maintaining their tradition parallel to that they should also focus on Garbage issue which is very frequent after every festival in India. Whether we see our temples, mosques or any spiritual place they are clean or maintained properly. So why to scatter garbage here and there after festivals who have spitural essence. This is a high time people have to aware regarding this issue. If they will not listen the call of mother nature then, she knows how to maintain her. (Global warming, floods, droughts etc are some examples)…… All need to awake from deep ignorance.

  2. every festival india leads to pollution. especially diwali. wish people get smart and stop polluting the country and call it celebration. Not saying stop fireworks just saying limit it. instead of going crazy all night. a few minutes is good enough. and its also so unsafe. people are allowed to do fireworks anywhere. on streets. houses. etc. where others are disturbed and at risk of being attacking by one of these crackers. its just common sense be smart people

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