Did you know that every year about one third of all food produced – equivalent to 1.3 billion tonnes – is wasted, yet food security continues to be a growing global concern, affecting millions of people. Or that the world’s freshwater supply such as rivers and lakes are polluted at a much faster rate than nature can recycle and purify?
COVID-19 lockdowns may have led to a dramatic 5 per cent drop in greenhouse gas emissions but not all measures to contain the pandemic have had a positive impact on the environment, warns the UN Conference on Trade and Development. Global sales of disposable face masks have sky-rocketted, and many more people have turned to online shopping due to social distancing.
What does this mean? Plastic waste created by over-packaged products and take-out meals that are delivered daily to homes are now clogging our landfills and floating in our seas. According to the UN Environment Programme, the costs are staggering – the negative spillover effects from plastic waste on fisheries, tourism and maritime transport, for example, can cost up to an estimated $40 billion each year.
In August, we look at the importance of Responsible Consumption and Production as our guide to a less wasteful and more sustainable future.