BY CHARLES KUMOLU & Kelechi Azubuike
LAGOS State governor Babatunde Fashola has called on Nigerians to avoid food wastage, saying that it constitutes a challenge to the fight against global warming.
He also noted that avoidance of food wastage, would lead to efficient land use and improved water resource management.
Fashola, who said this recently in Lagos at the 2013 World Environment Day titled: Think, Eat, Save called on retailers, hospitality industry and restaurant operators to redesign product packages to avoid waste.
His words: ‘’Food wastage leads to the squandering of resources, such as fertilisers, pesticides and fuel, used for transportation. The volume of food going into landfill sites is enormous and this creates methane, which is one of the most harmful contributors to climate change.”
The governor said statistics of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, an agency of the United Nations (UN), show that 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted in a world where one in every seven persons go to bed hungry daily.
“This is equivalent to the amount produced in the entire Sub-Saharan Africa. As if this is not enough, they said one out of every seven people in the world, including Nigeria, go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children below age five die daily from hunger.’’
In addition, he said, ‘’this report, for me, is unacceptable, unfair and harsh on posterity. Wastage occurs because many producers, retailers and consumers discard food that is still fit for human consumption. That is why Nigerians must make informed choices in buying and consumption.”
The governor further enjoined religious bodies, the government and non-governmental organisations, schools and institutions of higher learning to step up the campaign against wastage of food, charging them to educate the public to only procure and prepare the amount of food they could consume.
“We must make informed choices in buying and consuming food. Food wastage occurs because many producers, retailers and consumers discard foot that is still fit for consumption,” he added.
Continuing, Fashola said, ‘’the loss of property and livelihood is one that we must proactively guide against to mitigate global warming.’’
Also speaking at the forum, the state Commissioner for Environment, Tunji Bello, said the World Environment Day was marked to create awareness and inspire environmental consciousness on the need to take positive actions regarding issues of the environment.