29th August, 2012
More than a quarter of water used around the world is directed towards growing food that no-one eats, a global conference in Stockholm marking World Water Week had heard.
Torgny Holmgren, executive director of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), says that more than a quarter of all water used worldwide is employed to grow more than a billion tonnes of food which simply ends up "sent down the drain".
“Reducing the waste of food is the smartest and most direct route to relieve pressure on water and land resources. It’s an opportunity we cannot afford to overlook."
- Torgny Holmgren, executive director of the Stockholm International Water Institute
“Reducing the waste of food is the smartest and most direct route to relieve pressure on water and land resources," he says. "It’s an opportunity we cannot afford to overlook."
The conference, which more than 2,000 politicians, business executives, scientists and leaders of international organisations from more than 100 countries are attending, heard that significant increases are needed in investment aimed at reducing the loss of food in supply chains, enhancing water efficiency in agriculture and curbing consumer waste are required to relieve pressure on the world's water resources.
Statistics show that while more than 900 million people around the world suffer from hunger and another two billion face "serious health risks" as a result of undernourishment, 1.5 billion people are overeating and more than a third of all food is lost or wasted.
Data also shows that demand for food and fibre is set to grow by 70 per cent in the years to 2050 which, without intervention, will place "untenable pressure" on water resources in many parts of the world and threaten food security.
Meanwhile, a recent report released by UNICEF and the World Health Organization shows that while more than two billion people gained access to improved sources of drinking water, such as piped water supplies or protected wells, between 1990 and 2010 meaning the world reached the Millennium Development Goal for water five years ahead of the MDG deadline of 2015, 783 million people are still without access.
It showed that those still without access are largely the world's poorest with only 11 per cent of people in the least developed countries having access to piped water supplies compared with a global figure of more than 50 per cent.
MORE OF WORLDVIEW... | more... |